Christian Woman Brutally Assaulted with Chaff Cutter in Pakistan

Saima Bibi was serving tea to guests at her quarters in Punjab Province, Pakistan when her employer, a Muslim man, dragged her outside and pushed her towards an electric chaff cutter, causing severe injuries to her ear and scalp, according to her husband.

The 24-year-old Christian mother of two was working last month with her husband, Shahzad Masih, on the farm of two Muslim landlords in Ram Diwali Chak No. 6 village, Faisalabad District. Relatives had come to visit them on April 12, during the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Fitr.

While Saima was making tea for their guests, one of the landlords, Muhammad Mustafa, arrived and reprimanded them for not cutting fodder for the cattle.

“I immediately started cutting fodder with the electric chaff cutter, but when my wife came outside to give me tea, Mustafa began hurling abuses at her and ordered her to work,” Masih said. “When Saima said she would start in 10 minutes, Mustafa grabbed her by the hair and pushed her towards the chaff cutter, causing her to fall and hit her head on the running machine.”

Besides injuries to her right ear and scalp, the chaff cutter also injured her right eye, Masih said.

“Blood started gushing from Saima’s head, and she screamed and cried in pain,” Masih said. “Seeing her in a bloody mess, Mustafa fled the scene.”

Her cries attracted many villagers, including the other Muslim landowner, Muhammad Imran, who took her to a hospital. However, upon reaching Government Allied Hospital, Imran warned them not to reveal the true cause of her injuries.

“Imran threatened me with more severe consequences if we did not claim the incident was an accident,” Masih said. “My priority was to get Saima treated immediately. The doctors provided first aid and moved her to the plastic surgery ward, where she is still under treatment.”

On April 24, Masih attempted to file a case against Mustafa with the Nishatabad Police Station in Faisalabad, but officers refused to accept it.

“We were occupied with Saima’s treatment, which is why I couldn’t file a complaint earlier,” Masih said. “When I went to the police, they were reluctant to file a case against Mustafa due to his influence. Instead, they pressured me to withdraw the application and settle the matter directly with the accused. It’s been nearly a month now that we are trying to register a First Information Report [FIR].”

Attorney Akmal Bhatti, chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, said the aggrieved family had contacted him for justice.

“The police’s inaction and bias against the victim’s minority status exemplifies systemic challenges and discriminatory practices prevalent in rural policing,” he said.

Bhatti stated that he had filed a petition in the Faisalabad sessions court asking it to direct the police to register a case against Mustafa and initiate legal action against him.

“I’ve also filed applications with senior police officials to inform them about the intentional negligence of their subordinates in providing justice to Saima,” he said.

Bhatti added that efforts to conduct a medico-legal examination of Saima Bibi were also hindered, causing significant delays.

“The medical examination has finally been completed, and now we are waiting for the police to register an FIR and arrest the accused,” he said. “The perpetrators attempted to portray this incident as an accident and used their political and financial influence to prevent the issuance of a medico-legal certificate, which is essential for pursuing the case.”

The council emphasized that the incident highlighted deep-rooted issues of intolerance and discrimination against Christians.

“Saima’s case illustrates the vulnerability of religious minorities, particularly women, in rural areas where power dynamics and societal hierarchies often perpetuate injustice and impunity,” he said. “There is an urgent need for comprehensive legal reforms, enforcement of existing protections, and community engagement initiatives to combat religious discrimination and violence against minorities in Pakistan.”

“We demand that authorities expedite efforts to apprehend the accused and ensure that the victim receives justice,” he said.

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