A sexually harassed Christian from Pakistan was reportedly pressured by her Muslim attacker to withdraw accusations using blasphemy charges.
The Morning Star News said that 50-year-old Salima Rani Bibi was threatened by her Muslim supervisor, Ajmal Khan Dukki, with blasphemy charges if she will not withdraw the sexual assault case filed against him. Bibi, a sweeper at the Punjab Province Khanewal Municipal Committee sanitation branch and mother of six girls, was attacked in public by Dukki last July 22.
According to Bibi, Dukki tore her clothes and groped her private parts in front of her co-employees when she refused to drop the complaint she made against him. Dukki also sexually harassed Bibi routinely through lewd remarks made infront of her co-workers who are Christians.
Alpha Human Rights Care Organization Chairman Riaz Aasi told Morning Star News during an interview that Bibi suffered intimidation and threats from Dukki after she filed a complaint against him.
"When Rani Bibi filed a complaint against him with the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Khanewal, Dukki and other senior officials started intimidating her by stopping her salary and going as far as threatening her with abduction of her daughters, four of whom are minors," Aasi disclosed.
"This incident happened in front of a large number of employees, but even though all of Rani Bibi's Christian colleagues are willing to testify in her favor, the court has been adjourning the hearing on one pretext or the other," Aasi added.
Dukki is said to come from an influential family, the Khanewal, who "shares powerful connections with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar" and with the Khanewal Municipal Committee Chairman Janwal Masood Majeed Khan. Dukki's stature is said to be affecting the court hearing of Bibi's case, which includes complaints against police officials of Khanewal.
In particular, Bibi has filed a complaint with the Khanewal district police officer, police station house officer, and deputy commissioner. The court hearing was originally scheduled on August 6 but was rescheduled to August 16 after being postponed. This was likewise postponed and reschuduled on September 3.
"We are waiting to see how the hearing on Sept. 3 goes. We are ready to organize a district and provincial-level protest if silenced. We are not afraid to go as far as a hunger strike," Aasi said.
Aasi revealed suspicions that political pressure is causing the delays in the court's hearing of the case of Bibi. Aasi also disclosed that the political clout of Dukki, Khan, and the sanitation branch head Qazi Farhan are being used against Bibi. Aasi said Dukki and other officials have engaged in a character assassination campaign against Bibi after he intervened in her behalf. Character assassinations include reviling Bibi openly and in public, particularly before her co-employees.
While witnesses were said to have been threatened with torture by Wazir Khan Niazi, who is a ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf member of Pakistan and a renowned rights activists. Niazi pressures the witntesses to prevent them from supporting Bibi.
As of this time, Bibi and her children have been forced into hiding due to the "mounting pressure on her to withdraw the harassment case."
Morning Star News said Pakistan's sanitation workers are mostly Christians since Muslims refuse to work. Christians who work in the sanitation are discriminated through derogatory terms, experience sexual harassment and extortion by senior officers, have irregular work contracts, and nonpayment of salaries. They are denied "the rights of permanent workers" such as not receiving the full amount of compensation prescribed by law when they "die on duty."
Earlier reports revealed that Pakistan's Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony falsely claimed Christians are given fair treatment in the country.
The International Christian Concern's Director of Advocacy, Matias Perttula, said there's overwhelming evidence that religious minorities in the country, including Christians, "are not given the opportunity to freely practice their religion or participate in society as equals."
This is made evident by several cases where Christian women are taken and forced to convert and marry their Muslim captors.