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Mar-16-2014 01:14printcomments

Torture and Death Threats Against School Principal and Two Women Rights Defenders in Pakistan

"We condemn this attack and the threats made against staff members of LEAD which are directly related to the organisation’s work in the defence of human rights, particularly Christian and women's rights." - LEAD

School children in Pakistan
Courtesy: LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development)

(PUNJAB) - A local Muslim cleric began campaigning last week against the Christian 'Saint Paul High School', which has been serving both Christian and Muslim children for the last 20 years.

LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development) has taken the Catholic School on rental contract from the Catholic Board of Education. Mr. Zulifqar Masih, a Human Rights Defender and Field Coordinator Of LEAD, is serving as the Principal of this school. Christian and Muslim children of surrounding villages have been getting an education here, since the school's establishment.

On 15 March, 2014, after during school vacation, three unidentified armed persons forcibly entered the School and started beating and torturing Human Rights Defender, Mr. Zulifqar Masih, the Principal, as well as two Women Rights Defenders; Mrs. Zulifqar and Mrs. Imran. The attackers took away some school documents and one laptop and they also threatened the victims that if they did not close the school, they would have to face dire consequences including kidnapping and killing.

Mr. Zulfqar reported the attack and filed a complaint against the three unknown persons at the local police station. Police officials assured him that they would take legal action against the culprits.

On 12 March, 2014 about 7:40 PM while Mrs. Imran and Mr. Qaiser Younas were heading home from a women's workshop on the topic 'Women Sexual Harassment in the workplace' - two armed men stopped them on the road and threatened them, saying that if they must close the school. They were warned that if they did not leave the village within five days, they would be killed. The police have yet to act on LEAD's requests for protection and legal action against the culprits.

LEAD's Women Rights Defenders, Mrs. Imran and Mrs. Zulifqar, are also raising their collective voice against the violations of Women Rights in Pakistan.

They raised the issue of pregnant women who worked on brick kilns during their pregnancy which is very dangerous for the health of both Mother-Child; they campaign and train the women about their personal and legal rights and how they can gain awareness about their security in the workplace and in homes.

They are also supporters of a woman's free right to consent to marriage, which is also a major issue in Pakistan. These two Women Rights Defenders also received direct threats while supporting women who ran away from their homes after realizing that their marriages without their free consent; often to old men, was something they could escape.

LEAD stated:

    We have deeply concerned for the safety of the human rights defenders Mr. Zulifqar Masih and two women Rights Defenders, Mrs. Imran and Mrs.Zulifqar, along with other staff of LEAD, taking into account that three members of LEAD who are working for educational project of LEAD have defended the rights of women.

    We condemn this attack and the threats made against staff members of LEAD which are directly related to the organisation’s work in the defence of human rights, particularly Christian and women's rights.

 

In Solidarity,

LEAD

http://leadfamily.blogspot.com/

Edited by Tim King

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