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[PRAY] Police in Pakistan Torture Sister of Christian Who Eloped

June 15, 2011 by Open Doors in General

Pakistan Woman

On May 13 an influential Muslim family in a village about 25 miles north of Lahore invaded the home of Sajid Ashraf Masih. Sajid, a Christian man, and Saleha Gujjar, a Muslim woman, both in their 20’s, had fled their village and eloped. The Gujjar family then kidnapped several of Sajid’s family members in hopes of finding the couples’ whereabouts. Sajid’s sister Rakhel, his uncle and other male family members were kidnapped and beaten. The men were released the next day and Rakhel was released five days later. Rakhel’s release was permitted in exchange for her 17-year-old sister Maryam who was taken by force.

In the mean time the Gujjars filed a case with the local police over the abduction of their daughter naming Rakhel Ashraf, and three others, as a pressure tactic for the recovery of Saleha. This prompted the police to arrest Rakhel, who they tortured into revealing the whereabouts of the organization that the Masih family had enlisted for legal assistance. Once the whereabouts of the Community Development Initiative (CDI), the legal team helping the Masih family, was discovered the Gujjars and the police stormed their office.

“As soon as we got the information, we vacated the building to avoid any harm to our staff,” said Asif Aqeel, executive director of CDI. “However, we didn’t know that a heavy police contingent was also accompanying them. I rushed home, fearing that the Gujjars might want to harm my family too.” Several Masih family members were beaten in the attack.

Aqeel said that the CDI lawyers managed to find the eloped couple, who had contracted a marriage by then, and convinced them to return to Lahore in order to help resolve the inter-religious tensions. They also negotiated the safe return of the Gujjars’ daughter, Saleha, on the condition that they would stop harassing the Christians and withdraw all cases registered against them. “Rakhel’s family says they are not being threatened now,” Aqeel said. “No legal development has taken place, and the situation seems to have settled down by the grace of God.”

Rakhel’s brother, Abid Masih, confirmed that the family’s ordeal seemed to have ended, as Saleha had been returned to her family – though her husband Sajid is still in hiding and a divorce process is underway.

Father, while Sajid remains in hiding, supernaturally protect him from those who intend harm, and for his bride, protect her from her families’ wrath. Heal the wounds, both physical and mental, for Sajid’s family members who were beaten and tortured. Father, the news of trouble for Christians in Pakistan saddens us. Last year they suffered through the floods and this year with the murder of politicians advocating for their rights. Also they grieved with those in prison, like Asia Noreen, accused of blasphemy. Father, we are on our knees asking You to fill Pakistani Christians with hope. Encourage them through Your Word. Assure them of Your promise that You will never abandon or forsake them. Amen 

 

Accross the Muslim world, converting to Christianity from Islam requires real courage. Isolated, shunned and sometimes killed for abandoning their Muslim faith, Christians live with a great need for the support of Bibles, training in leadership, and lasting community development. You can send light to dark places in the Muslim World.

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