Date: October 1, 2017
The sickening plague of iniquity that has infected every part of Pakistan's Government has reared its ugly head in Thailand, after the Pakistani Embassy based there tried to use scare tactics to avoid tackling an embarrassing sexual harassment case.
A few weeks ago we reported on a slither of progress that was being made with the case of Maherwar Ishaq, a young beautiful Pakistani Christian girl who took up modelling to help pay for her family home. Earlier this year Maherwar was sexually harassed by a lead officer at the Embassy of Pakistan, when applying for a passport that would enable her to receive donations via Western Union from friends who were trying to help her survive whilst her asylum appeal was being heard by UNHCR. Read her full story (click here).
After a complaint was received by the Embassy from Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, they drew ranks and tried to protect Ayaz and insisted on an interview with Maherwar Ishaq, despite an incriminating audio recording of his attack, which was very clear and picked up Ayaz's distinctive accent and tone.
The Embassy refused to permit Maherwar Ishaq an interview off grounds without providing any valid reason, a position they still maintain. Worse still they were demanding the interview take place in isolation without anyone to provide her with the mental fortitude to return to the place where the miscreant Ayaz initiated his sordid plan. The Embassy showed no compassion for the trauma that Maherwar is still suffering advising her that one of the panel members would be a female - as if this would provide any solace in a country where women often trap unsuspecting girls into rape traps that lead to forced Islamic marriage. Yes a very cruel woman can be bred in Pakistan.
Movement of solidarity and peace wrote a report on the rape and forced marriage of an estimated 700 Christian girls and young women every year, they described the involvement of Muslim women in these crimes (click here)
However, after the Embassy indicated a positive change in their position by offering her the opportunity to be chaperoned during the interview on their premises, and even going as far as detailing the protection offered through Pakistan's often forgotten, 'Harassment of Women at the Work Place Act 2010', (HWWPA) as the base for the proceedings, they soon showed their real colours.
Letter to Maherwar's Solicitor from Pakistan Embassy.
In a shocking abuse of their power and authority they have targeted young Maherwar and her family with threats of getting them deported and even kidnapping Maherwar or killing her unless she produces a letter refuting the initial allegation, they even scandalously suggested that she implicate our chairman Wilson Chowdhry in having fabricated that story to help her get asylum. The Embassy staff seem to be oblivious of the fact that Maherwar has a recording of every aspect of the frequent calls made to her by Ayaz and a full recording of the incident itself.
On 19th September 2017 Maherwar received a call from her frightened stepbrother who was found through Pakistani contacts and invited to a meeting with the Pakistan Embassy. During the meeting they advised the stepbrother that if he persuades Maherwar to drop her case against Ayaz a currently unsuspended employee at the Embassy, that they will provide Mr Ishaq with the help and support he needs for his wife, children and himself to get to safety in the west. They have informed Mr Ishaq that they already know the location of Maherwar and are preparing to take extreme action against her and all her family members who are 'illegally' in Thailand and hence at the 'whim of Pakistan's vengeance' also believed to be involved in a very crass Facebook (FB) post that attempted to malign Maherwar's character which her solicitor reported to FB who duly had it removed.
The clear attempt to intimidate has left us in a real quandary. Firstly we cannot confirm whether the embassy staff have been able to find Maherwar's location. Their threat and the potential for Pakistan to use their secret services agency - the notorious ISI, has meant she has had to be relocated and we will lose all the deposits we put up for her safe home. We approached another charity in Thailand for help with a relocation of Maherwar, however the 'safe house' offered was in an area known for housing Pakistani asylum seekers which would only increase the risk to her. In a rush we have moved her to a new home, bought her a new phone in fear of a wire tap and are praying that she is now safe. We really need help with the costs for her new home - if you can help please (click here).
Our expectation is that the ultimate goal of the twisted and evil Pakistan Embassy in Thailand is for Maherwar not to attend her interview at the Embassy. Kamran Dhangal the Third Secretary, at Pakistan's Embassy who signed this letter written to Maherwar's solicitors is lucid enough to realise that if Maherwar attends an interview the Embassy will be forced to take action against their beloved staff member Ayaz. Maherwar's solicitor has told us she believes the greatest threat will be the days and hours running up to the interview, after that the Embassy will have to take action and it is hoped at that point they will stop their pernicious threats - of course of this there is no guarantee.
Maherwar met with her solicitor yesterday in a meeting that had been to discuss whether or not she had to attend the interview date set by the embassy. Maherwar originally did not want to go because of the trauma and anxiety the building now triggers within her, whilst there she also discuss the recent turn of events. Maherwar was advised that a recorded interview and transcript would not be accepted by the Pakistan Embassy. She has no option but to accept the interview or she will allow Ayaz to escape unpunished and able to trap other unsuspecting victims. The solicitor has said she will not be able to help Mahwerwar further unless she attends the interview and the threat to her life has
Our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry, has been totally moved by the plight of Maherwar, he said:
"Pakistan's evil, twisted and unprofessional officials at their Embassy of Pakistan in Thailand are an embarrassment to their nation.
"The despicable actions of embassy staff, in attempting to thwart justice and allow a sexual predator to continue to work in a position of authority where he can subject other prey to his sordid scheming, is absolutely disgraceful.
"It's frustrating to think despite clear evidence that Maherwar was assaulted, her attack is being ignored by UNHCR who should be expediting her asylum case based on this young woman's vulnerability.
"I am really fearful for Maherwar who is in extreme danger. I could not bear to think that someone under our protection was killed or kidnapped whilst on our watch and I pray that God makes it possible for her to attend the interview safely and help remove Ayaz from his post.
"I shudder to think what revenge Ayaz and his cronies would take on Maherwar if they successfully kidnapped her. Their threat leaves me feeling totally in despair for this poor young woman - I pray countries in the west read this plea for her to be given sanctuary far away from Pakistan and Thailand."
British Pakistani Christian Association have submitted a 157 pages report 'Country Expert' report written by Desmond Fernandes in support of the asylum application made by Maherwar and her family. However, officials there are still to deliberate on her appeal.
BPCA is not convinced that the law quoted by the Pakistan Embassy is germane to the incident and will be enough to see the removal of Ayaz from his post. The law (HWWPA 2010) only seems to apply to sexual harassment against employees and not clients and we have raised our concerns with her lawyer, asking for them to explore the relevancy of the law with the Embassy investigation panel.
Maherwar Ishaq, spoke with the BPCA, she said:
"My mother and I are very distraught; we feel so frightened we have slept little since the threats.
"We know the Pakistani Government hates Christians they have never been fair with our community, but these threats go further they have hurt us to our core. The man who tried to rape me is being protected because he is a Muslim friend and for them Christian women are only a toy for sexual pleasure.
"If I am kidnapped Ayaz will do whatever he wants with me and I am praying that God will protect me. I still remember how sick and scared I felt whenever he touched me. Please help me stay out of his clutches I would rather die then be used by him.
"I was not going to attend the interview at the Embassy because I felt it was a trap, but now I have no choice they have pushed me to it. I feel so hollow and empty this world has been harsh to me I just wish Jesus would come down now and take me away from all this situation.
"I have been told by my solicitor that even if I attend the interview it may mean Ayaz is still allowed to continue working at the embassy. His friends will protect him which is very upsetting. However, if this happens maybe more people who learn about the way I have been treated will see Pakistan for what type of country it truly is.
"I also could be arrested by Thai police who will be informed of the interview by the embassy I am sure. This would also put me in the clutches of Pakistan's authorities.
"I go to the interview with a heavy heart but with my trust in God. If something does happen to me, I hope it will make more people seek change in Pakistan."
Keri Gibbs a our volunteer in Canada has been trying to assist Maherwar. She recently spoke at a meeting seeking to highlight the positive work women do in the humanitarian field as agents of peace. Keri is trying to form a group of five under Canada's sponsored refugee programme so that she can take her to safety, she said:
"Early on, after being told of Maherwar's plight I told a young Eritrean woman styling my hair that I have to get Maherwar out of there, mindfully she pulled her clippers down safely in her hands and turning with frankness and compassion born of experience she peered into my face and said, "Yes, you must."
"Her simple and direct words pressed into my heart - it seems only those who have suffered seem to be up to facing the real anxiety of those in this sort of distress.
"Others I have tried to share with felt I was involving myself in something dangerous, but as I look into eternity it is only love you invest in people that lasts. It seems as if the great pressure on these persecuted Christians sometimes isn't about those people under the pressure, but the listener feels unduly put upon for having been informed of the anguish of the situation as if you expect them to fix the whole complex problem. Really all any of us can do is do what kindness is opportune at the time. But I truly believe that we are more able than we think we are of doing that
"There is a window of opportunity to help Maherwar, but many people just wait and see. I am saddened that I was not able to find enough people in the same city, who were interested in forming a Group of Five before this hearing, in a place that is so terrfying for her, was pressed upon her. I have wondered more than once how many people read the articles about her and cried, but haven't considered that they could do something about it.
"I was humbled to be invited to speak at Women at the Heart of Peace (click here); but what I reflect on was how peace isn't remaining tidy and neat. It isn't about pristine conditions, but it is a working of the heart that changes us more than it does the world. But change isn't comfortable.
"The stress and anxiety that asylum seekers endure is egregious and after this prolonged pressure you can see they have made their mark on Maherwar. I found it to difficult to read through her case material. I find it hard to write the emotion of what I see and hear."
If you feel disgusted at the lecherous behaviour of a Pakistani Embassy official in Thailand, please sign our petition (click here). Please also encourage media groups to write about Maherwar's plight.
Please email the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and ask them to keep women safe from Ayaz: