Date: February 7, 2016
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (jeremyreynalds@gmailcom)
LONDON (ANS-FEB 7, 2016) -- Reports indicate that Kiran Masih died on Jan. 20 2016 after rejecting the advances of several allegedly inebriated Muslim youth.
According to a news release from the British Christian Pakistani Association (BPCA), many witnesses saw the incident. It occurred at the busy time of 9pm in Lahore, a city known for its nighttime economy with shoppers out till early morning.
The driver involved in the incident was arrested and is still incarcerated. BPCA said it appears his family has met with the three affected families of the victims Sumble, Shamroza and Kiran Masih and expressed sorrow for their son’s actions.
Kiran's father died two years ago from a heart attack.
BPCA said in a blog posting that the inebriated men drove aggressively after the girls and crashed their car into them. The impact on Shamroza and Sumble threw them to the ground. The impact resulted in Shamroza breaking several ribs and Sumble’s hip.
The blog continued, “Kiran was even more unfortunate as the impact of the car lifted her off the ground and on to the (hood) of the car, where she (hit) the windscreen. The young men continued to laugh in their drunken stupor and increased their speed, finally braking when they could see another car before them. The momentum of the emergency stop threw Kiran up into the air and rapidly onto the (ground), where she cracked her head open and smashed numerous bones. The resulting internal bleeding killed her within minutes.”
Describing the meeting, Kiran Masih’s mother, Suriya Bibi, said, “The family of the driver have expressed great sorrow for all the victims, and have asked for forgiveness for them and their young son.”
She added, “I am very angry and upset by the loss of my daughter, but punishing the young man who has taken my daughter away from me will not bring her back. I have decided not to take action against him as I and my family do not want to go through the court process. (That)will only increase the hurt we feel, so we have decided to show love and compassion and have forgiven the family. Our Lord Jesus Christ forgave those that persecuted Him, and we have chosen to follow his example.”
All three families have chosen forgiveness and have chosen not to share their story with other groups.
BPCA said that Sumble's uncle, Rasheed Joya, is a former employee of peace campaigner and politician Julius Salik, and he helped broker peace between the families. It has been a very difficult time for the families, but they are all happy with the outcome.
The driver's family has agreed to pay a an undisclosed but large amount of damages to all three victim families.
The family said it isn’t money that has shaped their gracious and forgiving spirit.
BPCA reported Suriya Bibi said, “I have not sold my daughters for a few dollars. I have chosen forgiveness and love as Christ would have. Pursuing justice would only cause more hate and pain and that is not something I will drag the rest of my family through. We have suffered enough already, and just want to get on with the rest of our lives.”
BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti had offered to pay three months wages for Sumble and Shamroza and to pay all the funeral costs for the family, but they declined the offer.
They told BPCA they do not need the money.
Bhatti prayed with the families, and offered ongoing trauma counseling and assistance if they require it.
Bhatti said in the news release, “Having met with the families, I sense a genuine nature to their forgiveness. These families have been deeply hurt, but have chosen love over continuing the hatred. The family of the driver have stated that he has great remorse for his actions, and has learnt the consequences of his devious actions. His parents have wept with the injured families and have expressed their sorrow, sympathies and own regret at the impact of their son's actions.”
For now the driver remains in prison. It is believed he will be released by the courts after his criminal hearing, as there will be a lack of evidence for the conviction, a process which BPCA said is not unusual in Pakistan.
Other witnesses involved in the initial reports that led to his arrest will, BPCA said, “no doubt disappear. The other men involved in the incident have never been named and will have escaped justice.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said in the release, “The choice of the family to forgive their attackers may or may not be the result of many factors. We have no idea if any duress was applied, or whether the lack of a father figure in Kiran's family was a deciding factor in Pakistan's patriarchal society. However, the choice of the family to decline our offer of fiscal support suggests that finance was not a primary motive.”
He added, “It seems the perpetrators of the violence towards the Christian girls will now escape justice, and I can only hope and pray that these young men will learn their lesson and avoid such callous acts in the future. Sadly through the magnanimity of these three Christian families Pakistan's justice system once again will fail to convict perpetrators of an evil crime.”
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Photo captions: 1) Kiran Masih. 2) Wilson Chowdhry speaking. 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.