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Pakistani Christians outraged at acquittal of girl’s alleged rapist, murderer

Catholic World News - November 29, 2010

Christians in Pakistan are expressing outrage at the acquittal of Chaudhry Naeem, a wealthy Muslim attorney accused of raping and murdering Shazia Bashir, a 12-year-old who had worked as Naeem’s servant.

Following the January murder, Pakistani Catholic sources told the Fides new agency that Bashir was the victim of child trafficking. “Children are taken from their poor families, often Christian, with the illusion that they will find dignified work among middle-class families,” Fides reported. “They are then sold to these families, becoming ‘little slaves’ at the mercy of their employers, losing their freedom, and living practically under arrest.”

“It is disgusting,” said Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Pakistani bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission. “This verdict demonstrates that some characters are ‘above the law.’ These judgments guarantee impunity; because of this, phenomena such as human rights abuses, child labor, and violence against women will continue to flourish. So the work of organizations like ours, committed to the protection of human rights, becomes more difficult. The verdict further demonstrates the inefficiency and lack of independence of the courts and is proof of how you can drive justice.”

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