By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- Rights activists say there has been "a dramatic increase" in the number of Christian girls and women facing "brutal assaults" in Pakistan, with local police often refusing to intervene.
In one of the latest incidents on November 28, two Christian sisters, aged 14 and 16, were attacked in a village located within Jaranwala district after going into into a field to use the washroom.
The girls' family said three males "assaulted" the sisters repeatedly overnight. They have since been threatened by the perpetrators of the apparent sexual abuse with warnings not to press charges, Christians said.
Family members also claim that police have obstructed attempts to gather medical evidence.
Christian aid and advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) told BosNewsLife that its sister group in Britain "are ensuring the girls receive the medical care and legal assistance they need."
PAKISTAN CHRISTIANS ABDUCTED
Elsewhere in Punjab, a 14-year-old girl was reportedly abducted on November 26 in the Thatha Gondal area.
Christians said it is believed that she has been forcibly converted to Islam and married to her kidnapper. Local Christians and Muslims have been involved in negotiations to return the girl to her family, BosNewsLife learned.
Elsewhere a pregnant mother of four from Rana Town was reportedly attacked after resisting what Christians described as "a ruthless woman's attempts" to make her convert to Islam.
The Christian mother was allegedly "brutally attacked" by the instigator's brothers.
"After stripping the pregnant mother of her clothing and disgracefully parading her in public, the men robbed and finally beat the victimized believer to the point of unconsciousness," VOMC said.
LOCAL POLICE RELUCTANT
Local police "initially refused to register a case" but relented after pressure from rights activists, the group explained, adding that it had asked for prayers for the Christians.
Pakistan, a heavily Islamic state, has seen an increase in attacks against devoted Christians. Several of them remain detained on controversial charges of blasphemy against Islam, which potentially carry the death penalty.
Among those detained is Asia Bibi, a mother of five who lost an appeal against the death penalty for speaking about her faith in Christ with coworkers. The European Parliament (EP) has urged Pakistan to withdraw blasphemy laws.
"Asia Bibi has already spent four years on death row, though she is innocent," said Dutch legislator Peter van Dalen of the ChristenUnie (Christian Union) party in the EP.
"She should be released," he added in a recent statement obtained by BosNewsLife.