The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan

The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan
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Friday, 29 January 2010

Shazia Bashir (RIP)

Protest against the injustice of this incident.
Mother and sisters of departed Shazia

Mother and Daughters of departed Shazia

Funeral coffin of Shazia
A Report On An Underage Christian Girl, Shazia (12yrs)
Allegedly Tortured & Killed By A Muslim Lawyer

Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan
26th January 2010
Lahore.

On 23rd Jan. 2010 in the evening Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) got some information through reliable resources that Christian girl (12 years old) has been allegedly tortured to death by Mr.Naeem (his family) advocate Supreme Court Pakistan. SLMP team reaches there for fact-finding

Shazia’s Family Background
Shazia was twelve years old girl. Shazia’s stepfather named as Bashir Masih and her mother Nasreen Bibi were living in a very small and dilapidated single small room. They are living in the worst condition of poverty. They are five brothers and sisters. Shazia was the 3rd one in her family.

One-man name as Amanat Ali used to come in Shazai’s home. He motivated her parents to engage their daughter on a job. So he took the girl to Mr. Naeem’s house. He has been the president of Bar-at Law. Now he is advocate in Supreme Court.

Shazia has been working in Mr.Naeem’s house as maidservant since last eight months. He and his wife used to maltreat her. Shazia has to do a lot of work. It is pity; food was not being given to her on time. Even she was wearing a nicker a long shirt all the time. In extreme cold, she had to do a great deal of work. It is miserable that after the whole day, she had to be hungry. The neighbors are the eyewitnesses of this torture, but nobody-raised voice against this torture/ injustice.

Statements of Some People
Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan interviews some of the neighbors in Defense Colony. One of the neighbor said, “ She was not given proper food. Shazia had to beg for a single loaf of bread. She had been treated as an animal. Even in the cold weather, she was not wearing the warm clothes.

One man said, “ Once I saw that she was eating a little piece of sugar cane lying on the floor. Mrs. Naeem called her; she threw that on the floor again and got frightened. After some time I heard the voices, screaming and shouting etc, as someone is beating a child.

One neighbor woman said, “ Four to five days ago, she was washing the garbage in foggy cold weather, Mrs. Naeem was standing in warm clothes, and she was scolding her. Shazia was not wearing warm clothes. After some days we heard that Shazia had died in the hospital.”

Mr. Naeem and his family did not allow Shazia to visit or see her family. Moreover, they had not given salary Shazia’s parents since last eight months, and when they gave the salary, Shazia was almost dead. She was beaten brutally and harshly, once Shazia complained against Mr. Naeem and his family that they beat her. Later, they did not allow her to meet her parents.

Occurrence
Why Shazia came to worst condition…?

Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan met the people (neighbors) and came to the reality about this mishap. It is stated that Mr. Naeem and his wife did not give food to Shazia. Because of working in the cold weather, Shazia became seriously ill and was unable to work. Even then she was treated very cruelly. Mr. Naeem and his wife used to beat her with sharp shaped instruments (The 12-13 injuries were visible on the dead body) they gave her some medicine but she could not recovered.

On 19th Jan. 2010, the accused took her to the Jinnah Hospital Lahore and offered the family Rs.30, 000 to hush up the matter. It was stated that she died because of falling down from the stairs, when Shazia’s parents came to know that she had died then the relatives and other people of that area protested against this mishap. On 23rd Jan. 2010 main road of Lahore called Mall road was blocked. The NGO’s, News Channels and print media played a major role in highlighting this tragic incident. Shazia’s parents were shocked and depressed but SLMP with the collaboration of other Organizations encouraged them to raise their voice against this injustice.
When Mr. Naeem realized and apprehended that he will have to face the brunt of it. He and his family ran away and left their house. It is very strange that when Shazia’s relatives were protesting on the road, the police authorities did not respond and come to the deceased family for condolence. The case was registered, but Mr.Naeem’s arrestment was not shown on the T.V. It was great enigma for the people that what is happening behind the scene.

SLMP and some friends from other Organizations contacted some police authorities and got the information about the legal procedure. Then they came to know that police registered a case # 56/2010 against Mr. Naeem, his wife Ghazala Naeem, sister in law Robi Farooq and other relative under section 302 in Police Station of Defense B division, on a complaint lodged by Shazia’s mother. The body was sent to the morgue for autopsy and the family said that; “ they would not collect the body until authorities arrest the accused Mr. Naeem advocate. SLMP team shared their sympathies with the deceased girl’s parents and assured them of every kind of moral and spiritual help. They console the family and prayed for them.

Funeral Service
The funeral of 12 years old Shazia Masih, a maid, who was allegedly tortured to death by her employer, was held at the Cathedral Church on Monday 25th January 2010. The Lahore Bishop offered her last rituals and she was buried at the graveyard in Mian Saab. Hundreds of people (Christians and Muslims) Civil Society Organizations, Pastors, religious leaders, Bishops etc, attended the funeral ceremony. SLMP team spends the whole day with Shazia’s family and served food.

The Role Of Government On This Incident
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and assured the family that through investigation, justice would be conducted. In a late breaking development, President Asif Ali Zardari also took notice of the girl’s murder and directed Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz to extend all possible cooperation to the victim’s family and announced Rs, 50,0000 in compensation. Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Yousaf Raza Gallani also expressed his sympathy and sent them cheque of Rs. 50,0000.

The Federal Minister for Minorities Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Provincial Minister for Minorities Mr. Kamran Michael and members of various political and religious parties and a large numbers of people from the Christian community attended the Shazia’s funeral service.

Meanwhile, senior police officials were interrogating Shazia’s employer, Chaudhery Naeem advocate and his family although Shazia had several marks on her body, autopsy report negated suspicion of abuse.

Newly appointed Cantt Superintendent of police (Investigation) Umar Saeed told in Daily Times (Newspaper) that, “ the accused party and complainants had been summoned today (Tuesday) adding that their statements would be recovered in the meeting.
On the next day, on Tuesday 26th January 2010 an extremely hostile environment was witnessed at the Cantt Court, as Lawyers tried to coerce the court and the media in favor of Chaudhery Naeem advocate who is accused of torturing to death his 12 years old maid Shazia Masih. The unruly lawyers also forced the deceased girl’s family off court perishes.

Legal Procedure started?
As police brought the accused in the court to obtain his physical remand, a large mob of lawyers gathered and started shouting slogans against the media. They also forcibly stopped the reporters from reaching the courtroom where the case was to be heard.

The Lawyers unexpected attitude
The Lawyers-Majority of whom belonged to the Lahore High Court Association (LHCBA) blamed the media for launching a swear campaign against Naeem, a former president of (LHCBA). The lawyers claimed that the media was giving undue attention to the case, saying that Shazia was not killed by Naeem or his family, but had died after falling down from the staircase. In a related development a general house meeting of the (LHCBA) chaired by its newly elected President Sajid Bashir vowed to take the media had on for it’s “biased reporting” of the Shazia murder case. The (LHCBA) also passed a resolution against media personnel and announced a complete boycott of court proceeding on Wednesday to protest against the “unfair” treatment being meted out to Mr. Naeem. Earlier, the court granted the police three-day physical remand of Naeem advocate. Additional District and Session Judge Mr. Shafi-ur-Rehman had earlier granted interim bail to Naeem’s wife and sister-in-law until February 3rd 2010. Mr. Shafi-ur-Rehman directed the authorities to submit the case record in the next hearing. Mr. Naeem’s son has already been given interim bail. Despite the withdrawal of a strike call, the meeting of the Lahore High Court Bar Association could not be held on Wednesday. The lawyers strongly favored Mr.Naeem advocate and boycotted courts because of strike. There was complete silence in the courts, but there were a great numbers of lawyers present in the courts.

Government High Authorities Strongly Condemned the Lawyers
The I.G (Inspector General) Punjab Police named as Mr. Tariq Kalim Dogar strongly condemned and discouraged lawyers’ strike. He stated that there is a pressure group of lawyers that tries to defend the accused advocate Mr. Naeem and his family. This case is an extremely tragic incident for all of us. It is not only an insult to the law but also an insult to humanity.

In National Assembly, the Prime Minister and all the MNA (Member of National Assembly) condemned this tragic incident and expressed their sympathies with the deceased girl’s family.

Conclusion
On 27th January 2010, NGO’s conducted a meeting and declared to arrange a press conference on 29th Friday 2010 in Shazia’s house and they will raise their voice for “Justice’’. All the sanitary workers will strike in favor of deceased girl’s family. They will demand for the strict implementations of Child Labor Laws. By all means, the case should be impartially investigated and Advocate Naeem and his family should be punished according to the law.

Comments
However, one question still remains…. Who is to be blamed for such an “injustice”?

This is just one case that has been reported. The fact is there are millions of Shazia’s out there who are forced to work at a young age and who suffer cruelty or may even lose their lives because of such treatment/maltreatments and their cases never get reported. One society, culture and attitudes towards the poor and the minorities play a major role in causing such injustices. There is no sensitivity to violence whatsoever.

According to (a newspaper “Daily Times” 27th 2010), an estimate 47 percent of the families in Pakistan endure violence inflicted upon them by their own family members. A husband beating up his wife or parents threshing his/her children without any real need is a common aspect of our society. Due to exposure to repeated violent episodes, so the children living in such a household accept it in their lives as a matter of routine and thus violence prevails.

Another issue is the parent’s responsibilities towards their children. Most families, especially in the low economic class, consider family planning a sin. They do not realize that their duty as parents does not end at giving birth only. Making the children healthy, responsible adults, educating them, teaching them moral values and preparing them in such a way that they could handle the pressures of life is also a part of their job. We have to understand the responsibilities of bringing another life into this world. This is in turn, gives birth to child labor, when these people are unable to provide food for themselves and their children to work in violation of the child labor laws.

The Shazia’s murder case also reflects her parent’s apathy towards her. As stated by the Post-Mortem report, Shazia had been tortured for a long period of time, where were her parents when she was being beaten up?

This case is an extremely tragic incident for all of us. It shows how shallow and low we are and if we do not raise our voices now, we will continue to drift into this darkness we are all responsible because our negligence as a society played a part in letting such a crime take place.

This is very tragic aspect that in Pakistan where population is 16 krore, and literacy rate is 17 %. Most of the people are forced to send their children for labor. One-krore children are forced for bounded labor. Child labor should be restricted. Strict laws should be implemented, but in Pakistan not only children but also women are also facing injustice, maltreatment and discriminations. After Long struggle of some women organizations, the bill for violence on woman (domestic worker) has been approved, and the other bill against domestic violence is still lingering on and has not been approved.

Report written and complied by

Amber Sohail
Coordinator (Capacity Building Program for Women)
Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan

8 comments:

  1. hi my name is shazia too

    after reading this i felt so sad how could some people so cruel. rip shazia xx

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  2. I have read a few different articles about the case of Shazia. However this is the most reliable one as an attempt has been made to be objective rather seeing this as a case of Muslim v Christian.

    This article rightly points out the condition of rights of both women and children(Muslim & Christian)in a country that is still run by elites who act outside the law or as a law unto themselves and a country where a large section of the population are livig in absolute poverty and therefore have no access to proper legal representation or other basic human needs: housing, nutrition, health, education, work and fair working conditions etc.

    According to both communities there is a case of death that needs to be investigated in accordance with the law. Muslim and Christians should avoid subjectiviness and work together for the good of the nation and in accordance with the principles of truth and justice held by both religious communities. Those who claim to be Muslim or Christian but do not strive to uphold truth and justice will not be saved by the labels the give themselves.

    Thanks for your more objective article and we pray that this and other similar cases will find justice.

    A concerned Muslim - UK

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  3. Hope Thou in GOD who is on the THRONE. It is good to hear these comments. Evil spreads when people of Good will do not condemn EVIL and keep quite

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  4. this is a totally fake story. no neighbour gie a statement against naeem's family. as per post martum report she died because of septiciemia due to acute chronic inflamatory dease of lung. the allegations made in F.I.R were totally incorrect. A hipe has been created to fatch money from NGO'S. An element a black mailers has joined hands to earn money by black mailing. The matter win investigating team of punjab police consisting of very honest and professional to supretendents of police, a deputy supretendent of police and an inspector. After the conclusion of investigation, the court granted the bail to the accused

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  5. how one guy said like this .these poor people how much they get favor from people who live in this selfish country where the criminal are safe by goverment but one the only God is our best judge who also judge the people who done these all with shazia .may God bless the famly of shazia.amen

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  6. anonymous said of 5 march mr Khan Bacha who spreads his lies everywhere. You are a member of Naeem clan !! Shame on you

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  7. March 5th...Fake story my ass!!! how dare you say that!! If Mr. Naeem and his family were innocent why was there an angry mob of lawyers keeping the media and the Shazia's family away from the court? Obviously to intimidate them and disrupt the court case. Laywers acting like common thugs what an insult to the jurisdictional system. I hope justice is served for the Shazia's family. Harsher penalties should be given to such offenders.

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  8. Yeah commenter from 5 March, you're so stupid, even the hospital said her JAW WAS BROKEN, and then they said she died falling down the stairs. Also she had been RAPED. Why do you want to lie about something so horrible !! I dont even care what the autopsy reported, we all know pakistan is corrupt country and that christian girls are raped all the time. We all know that you see women and girls as NOTHING. If the medical examiner was on side of Nadeen family, he would LIE. And yes, the lawyers acting like an angry mob of common gangsters PATHETIC. No where else would anyone do that.
    Also getting bail is not a sign of innocence. Its a sign of having money to pay off for bail. CORRUPT !!!

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