Christian woman gang raped by three Muslim men in Pakistan

ReutersPakistan's anti-blasphemy laws are part of a host of legislation used to target Christians

A Christian woman has been gang raped by three Muslim men in her home in Kasur, Pakistan.

The men reportedly broke in while her family were at work and took turns to rape her. The woman said she screamed for help but no one came.

Relatives have reported the crime and called on the services of Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian lawyer who offers free legal assistance to Pakistani Christians and other religious minorities who are victims of persecution or abuse.

Gill has filed his first report with the police but has said it is difficult to get a case like this prosecuted fairly in Pakistan.

"It is not easy to find and punish these sort of delinquents," he told Fides. "Very often in cases like this the police do little or worse side with the criminals."

"Christian families or witnesses are pressured to withdraw the charges," he said.

"Violence against the women and children of religious minorities, the weakest and most vulnerable of persons, is widespread in Pakistan and often passes unaddressed.

"Many cases and stories never come to light and activists who dare to speak out suffer intimidation."

However the stories that do emerge paint a shocking picture of life as a Christian in Pakistan. Though it is not known if this latest attack was religiously motivated, it follows a string of cases of persecution against Christians in the Islamic country.

Freedom of expression and freedom of religious belief are severely restricted in Pakistan with "defiling the Prophet Muhammad" carrying a death sentence. Damaging the Qur'an is punishable by life imprisonment and "insulting another's religious feelings" can lead to jail sentences of up to ten years, but is applied only to those criticising Islam.

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