The Christian community of Lahore is outraged following the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped by a Muslim gang and repeatedly assaulted.
Muqadas Masih and her older sister Asma were returning home from work when Muqadas was kidnapped by two Muslim men and three women. They took her inside a school and the two men, identified as Ashraf Alias Achi and Ghaffor Alias Paida raped her repeatedly in turn. When they had finished, they abandoned the young girl.
Although Muquadas' family filed a complaint with local police, they have received threats from Muslim extremists if they do not withdraw the complaint.
Christian advocates have said Muslims often use sexual violence as a means of controlling the Christian population, especially women and girls.
"In Pakistan rape is used as an instrument of arbitrary power over Christian girls, who come from poor and marginalized families. It is a form of violence that wants to reiterate the submission to Muslims. The rest of society is not outraged because the victims mostly belong to religious minorities, who are the most vulnerable," explains Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, who heads LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development)
"Rarely rapists are punished."
But almost more horrifying is the lack of care appropriate care given to girls following such assaults.
"Rape victims face terrible difficulties; they do not receive adequate medical treatment for sexual assault. Many girls are traumatized and become depressed and in need of psychological assistance," continued Gill.
Religious minorities face extreme persecution in Pakistan. According to the persecution watchdog group Open Doors, Christians in particular "are caught in the crossfire between Islamic militant organizations that routinely target Christians, and an Islamizing culture that leaves Christians isolated from the rest of the population."
In addition, Pakistan's blasphemy laws have "devastating consequences for minorities, including Christians" and that Islamic extremism and organized corruption are two of the main sources of persecution.
"Women and girls from minority groups are particularly vulnerable, and sexual assaults against underage Christian girls by Muslim men continue to be reported," the group continued.
LEAD and other Christian organizations continue to fight for the rights of religious minorities within the country-an endeavor that often seems hopeless.
"We often get discouraged, as human rights abuses happen every minute of every day in Pakistan," explained one Open Doors aid worker.
"But if we can help even one persecuted citizen, it's a worthwhile endeavor. Only prayer is powerful enough to fight the monstrous abuses occurring within the country. "
"We will do everything so that this violence does not go unpunished," added Gill.