By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - A Christian woman of five says she has been rescued in Pakistan’s Punjab province after Muslims kidnapped and raped her for nearly three weeks.
Venus Bibi, 30, of Sahoo Ki Malian of Sheikhupura in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was recently freed from her kidnapper after a police complaint against the abductor, Worthy News learned Sunday.
Venus and her husband, Warris Masih, are both brick kiln workers. Worthy News does not publish names of sexually abused persons unless they agree to come forward publicly, as was the case.
The troubles began on April 1 when Venus Bibi went out for household shopping. Muslim men blocked her way, saying she should accompany them without making noise, her husband Warris Masih said in published remarks.
Before she had time to realize what they were saying, they grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to a car parked nearby, her family said.
Bibi resisted and started shouting, but the kidnappers reportedly showed a gun and told her to stop crying, or they would kill her. She apparently got scared and stopped screaming. Bibi recalled one of the kidnappers saying to take her to the town of Sahiwal, about 129 miles (206 kilometers) away from her hometown, so that nobody could find her.
Warris said that a man, publicly named Muhamad Akbar, was the main suspect in the kidnapping backed by his supporters.
Warris claims this wasn’t the first time a Muslim man abducted a Christian woman. “Because he is rich and very influential, the police never take any action against him, the father said in comments obtained by Worthy News. “Because of the police’s inaction against him, he has been encouraged, and therefore he continues to commit such crimes freely and regularly.”
Warris claimed Akbar detained Bibi for at least 20 days. During that near three-week period, he and his friends allegedly raped and beat her. They also told the woman that if she tried to escape, they would kill her children and husband, “and nobody could do anything about it,” according to the couple’s account.
Bibi covering her face with a scarf and crying, also claimed her abductors injected her with drugs to ensure she did not escape, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
Warris said he had complained to the police about his wife’s kidnapping. He stressed they pledged to take action but kept telling him not to worry as they were trying to find his wife. Warris said that as the police knew the abductor, they forced him to release Bibi.
She was found on the roadside near her village, Sahoo Ki Malian, “in a terrible state and wasn’t even able to walk independently.”
Warris said: “We are poor and Christian; therefore, the police are not taking any action against abductor, and because he has heavily bribed the police. “ But he added: “I want justice for my wife. I want all the kidnappers arrested and punished for their crimes so they can stop kidnapping more Christian women.”
Well-informed advocacy group Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) shared the remarks with Worthy News.
Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK, told Worthy News that he is concerned about “the increasing number of kidnappings and forced conversion of Christian women and young girls.”
He said: “It is very unfortunate that despite the State being aware of this problem, it continues to ignore the issue.”
However, he added that it is “also sad that the mainstream media is not willing to publish and telecast news which relates to Christian and other minorities’ girls. “
Saeed noted that while sexual harassment of Muslims is often mentioned by the government and local media and “action is taken against the culprits,” hardly “any sympathy is shown for the Christian and other minorities‘ girls.”
Saeed said that kidnapped Christian young girls are also often forced “to convert to Islam and marry much older men and sometimes they are sold.”
Christians comprise less than 4 percent of Pakistan’s mainly Muslim population of almost 240 million people, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).