A 13-year-old Christian girl was reportedly raped by three young Muslims in a rented apartment near Pakistan’s Karachi airport.
According to the girl’s father, the girl was alone in the house when the incident happened. The girl’s parents are street sweepers.
Dilawar Bhatti, president of the Christian People’s Alliance, called on the government to take a clear statement on the growing violence against religious minorities in the country.
He said the incident was the second rape case in a month of a Christian girl. “Christian minors are always targeted,” said Bhatti.
Kashif Anthony of the National Commission for Justice and Peace condemned the incident as he urged authorities to arrest the “monsters” and “bring them to justice.”
The group International Christian Concern also reported this week that at least two Christian homes in Pakistan were burned down in religiously motivated attacks in April.
“Both attacks exemplify the persecution and discrimination faced by Pakistani Christians,” said the human rights organization.
A US State Department report released early this year highlighted what it described as the worsening state of religious freedom in Pakistan.
The report cited several sources that point to the country’s blasphemy law as one of the root causes for the decline.
According to the report, in 2019, 199 individuals were accused of blasphemy with 70 percent of cases coming from the country’s religious minority communities (such as Christian, Hindu, and Shia and Ahmadi Muslims), though these groups make up just a small percentage of Pakistan’s population.
The ongoing misuse of the blasphemy law against religious minorities has been vigorously denied by the Pakistani leadership.
In recent months, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning the blasphemy law and called Pakistan’s preferential trade status with the EU into review, a move that was quickly rejected by Pakistani officials.
Pakistan has one of the harshest punishments on record for blasphemy, including life in prison and even death.
To date, no death sentences have been carried out in blasphemy cases, though mobs of Pakistani Muslims have assaulted and even killed individuals accused of blasphemy extrajudicially.
The US State Department report adds more weight to the growing criticism that Pakistan is facing internationally for upholding their blasphemy law and enabling discrimination against religious minorities.