Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
Farzana, Mehwish Bhatti, Sherish and their younger brother all images taken when provided with new temporary home, before sorrowful court result.
Please sign our petition (click here)
Sadly Sherish and Farzana have lost their fight for justice. As you may recall, the two young teenage sisters lost their innocence after being abducted
at gunpoint while using a field as a toilet, and were then subjected to a torturous 12 hour gang rape ordeal by local Muslim boys (click here).
The family have been living in hiding at a house paid for by British Pakistani Christian Association after severe threats were received at the family home which was also subjected to a terrifying gun attack. During the attack, bullets narrowly missed the youngest son and the family were very shaken. The girls ordinarily reside with our lead officer Mehwish in a safe house where they have been undergoing academic learning in English, Maths, Urdu and vocational skills in tailoring (click here). However during a period where their father fell ill, and during the flurry of court activity, the family wished to live together for support. This most recent devastating blow has knocked some of the stuffing out of them and as a result they have decided to spend a further few weeks together.
The case has allegedly been lost due to the unreliability of a key witness who originally, in the face of threats, refused to attend the court, then when instructed to attend by the court changed his original statement. Mr Ghafoor, who was previously a family friend, has been accused of taking a bribe and altering his statement in lieu of this payment.
Another factor has been the performance of the lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, who offered to conduct the legal cover for the family for free and then asked us to pay £200 expenses. From the outset we have been concerned about his lack of attendance at court and lack of response to our requests for updates. We have also been advised that he even failed to utter a word during the cross examination session with the culprits, which utterly undermined the families' prosecution according to the father. Since discussing this with other charities we are very disappointed and concerned to have learned that Mushtaq has actually never won a case and is known for claiming he is representing clients he is not working with. We can provide evidence for this and write this to advise potential donors to LEAD Family Solicitors in Pakistan, who may fall into a similar trap.
As a consequence of the judgement all the rapists have now been set free, and already the family have had to face ridicule and threats from the perpetrators.
Ilyas Masih, the girls' father, said:
"I am really upset and disappointed that we have lost the case and didn’t get justice. Mushtaq Gill didn’t fight the case very well and showed a poor level of commitment. Mostly he stayed absent from the hearings of the case in the court. The lawyer didn’t even participate in the cross questioning of the culprits in the court."
He said: "I want to appeal to High Court now because I want justice for my daughters. Ilyas Masih described his concern over the Pakistani Justice System, he said: "The judge and police displayed a clear bias towards the culprits because of the religious discrimination."
Ilyas Masih is worried that it will be impossible for him to go back to his home in the village of Jaranwala due to the severity of threats. Although there are some influential people from the village that have assured him they will help his family to live securely in the village, he knows that they cannot protect him all the time and may change their position under the pressure that is being applied. Ilyas is terrified for his family and needs some help to buy his own home in a safer location. He is now frightened of village life and is hoping to relocate to a city. Having already had a gun attack on his home the BPCA can confirm that his anxiety is well founded (click here). Our current rented property for the family will expire in 8 months, however we hope to help by either extending this period for a further year to give the family a longer period away from the pain, or if possible to buy a safe house for the family to reside in until they are able to afford their own home - which we would help them to do. The home can then be used to help other rape or blasphemy victims for a period of longevity. A safe house will cost in the region of £12,000 and while the family are living there they will be retaining their saved rent and sale of their existing home, so they can purchase their own new home. We are also training Sherish and Farzana to be tailors whereby they should be able to earn ten times the salary they were earning as bonded labourers, which will help them contribute towards the new home.
The girls have been doing relatively well despite everything that they have been through, but Farzana, the elder of the two, has suffered anxiety and depression
since the attack and has been even more withdrawn since the court announcement that their prosecution has failed. In recent
weeks a donor has offered to pay for a series of 10 trauma counselling sessions with a professional licensed psychiatrist for Farzana and we hope to
begin these soon.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA said:
"News of the failure of the sisters to get justice is heartbreaking. Muslim NGO 'Movement of Solidarity and Peace' reported on the 700 Christian girls kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage very year (click here). Judging by this latest result and the insouciance of the police and legal authorities, the figures are set to worsen, as the message is very clear, rape is a crime that can be carried out with impunity in mysogynist Pakistan."
Siblings happy to be reunited before the court date
Please consider giving to our work for the innocent. Donations can be sent using these bank details:
Sort Code: 20-44-22
Account number: 43163318
Ref: Love for Sherish and Farzana
For international donations please use these details:
IBAN: GB62 BARC 20442243163318
Alternatively you can use the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, our PayPal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheques should be made payable to the BPCA to our address: 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION is a trading name for BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS LTD which is a charity entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1163363
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Pakistani Christians.