Toba Tek Singh - October 26, 2023 - A 12-year-old Christian girl, Tabitha Razzak Masih, was forcibly abducted on her way back to her uncle's home in Pir Mahal, Punjab. This harrowing event unfolded on the evening of September 29, 2023, at approximately 8 p.m., as young Tabitha was returning from her uncle's residence, which is just a short distance away.
Tabitha's peaceful journey home was tragically disrupted when a group of individuals from the local Muslim community, identified as Ahmad Raza, Sajida Sabir, and Shani, along with three unidentified men and two unidentified women, confronted her. The abductors, armed and unrelenting, seized Tabitha at gunpoint and forcefully placed her in a white vehicle. They arrived at the scene on two motorbikes and in a car, swiftly overpowering the young girl before making a swift getaway.
As Tabitha bravely resisted and cried out for help, her elder brother, Boota Masih, and several other concerned individuals rushed to her aid, determined to rescue her from the clutches of the abductors. Tragically, the kidnappers brandished their firearms, issuing a chilling warning that they would not hesitate to harm anyone who dared to intervene. With these menacing threats ringing in the air, they fled the scene, taking Tabitha with them.
Razzak Masih family is a resident of Shadman Colony, situated in Pir Mahal, District Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, a location approximately 220 kilometres from the provincial capital, Lahore. The family, led by Masih and Mrs. Margaret Razzak Masih, consists of 10 children, including six sons and four daughters. Tabitha, the seventh child, is a mere 12 years of age. The family grapples with economic challenges, with all members being illiterate and earning their livelihood as sweepers, primarily working in nearby marriage halls. The sole exception is Faisal, one of their sons, who is employed in a garments factory.
Marqus Razzak, Tabitha's brother, voiced profound concerns about the abductors, characterizing them as individuals of great danger, capable of inflicting harm or even trafficking the abducted girls. He lamented the family's desperate efforts to secure assistance from the police, underscoring the discrimination they face as members of a religious minority in Pakistan. Marqus revealed that the family did file a formal complaint with the police, resulting in the registration of FIR No. 798/23 at the Pir Mahal Police Station on October 5, 2023.
Despite their pleas for swift action, Marqus disclosed that the police have yet to initiate a robust investigation into Tabitha's abduction. This has left the family deeply frustrated, as they contend that the suspects were briefly detained and subsequently released without the due process of inquiry.
Masih's family's distress continues to mount, with grave concerns about the well-being and safety of Tabitha, who may have endured untold horrors since her abduction. Marqus firmly asserted that, under no circumstances, could his sister have been legally married, as she is underage. He earnestly implored the Christian community to join them in fervent prayer for the swift and secure return of Tabitha.
This heart-wrenching incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation and the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, ensuring justice and safeguarding the rights of minority communities in Pakistan.
We will continue to monitor this distressing situation and provide updates as it unfolds.