The case of Arzoo Raja has shocked the world. (Image: YouTube)
Pakistan, the land of peace, was a safe pasture for lambs at the time of independence. The land of peace was a place of diversity. Living in a heterogeneous habitat, these lambs learned to live in harmony.
The peaceful land had 75 percent green lambs (Muslim community) and 25 percent white lambs (religious minorities). But the peaceful land was also sanctuary to a pack of wolves (extremists). The wolves started influencing these green lambs and soon the green lambs who had been enjoying the tranquillity of unity drank a deadly potion. A potion that turned these lambs into wolves.
The system was overrun by the wolves, causing a steep decline in the number of white lambs. From being 25 percent, the rate dropped to 3.6 percent. The reasons were evident but everyone chose to turn a blind eye as all the white lambs were being slaughtered by the wolves. The white lambs, objecting to their fate, the inhumanity, the slaughter, cried out as much as they could. But how does a lamb defend itself from a wolf?
How can you define a lamb brought to an altar for sacrifice? Innocent, blameless and pure? An innocent lamb without a blemish being dragged to slaughter on the altar by wolves hoping that the blood of the lamb might be the essence of atonement, possibly redemption.
But this sacrifice isn’t just an attempt for redemption or atonement. It’s a sacrifice as an attempt to please the gods. The underlying question is, what regard does God have for the purity or the innocence of the lamb?
These innocent, pure and tongue-tied lambs are the minorities of Pakistan. They barely have the right to speak while they are being slaughtered.
The courts in the land of peace ensure that the innocent lambs are ordained within the cloth that will distinguish them from the label of infidels.
Why is nobody daring to acknowledge the fact that the lamb is already dead and it doesn't matter which cloth is being muffled around the lamb? We don’t even dare challenge the horrendous act of child rape for it has been ordained in the sacrament of marriage.
Even if you justify the marriage of Arzoo Raja in the latest case to shock Pakistan, how can you justify the knot being tied between a 13-year-old minor and a 44-year-old man? What's the underlying reason for supporting this child sexual abuse? I dare not focus on the molestation the child was subjected to as the deception and intimidation the child endured is more than enough to pierce my soul.
Do you really think she can ever forget the face of her crying mother outside the court? Do you really think she will ever be able to put behind the memory of the hysterical weeping of her mother? Do you really believe that she won’t ever think about the way her mother proclaimed her siblings' love for her? Do you really think you can eradicate these memories from the mind of a child who you proclaim an adult by merely ordaining her with a cloth?
Unfortunately, this little girl who still played with dolls isn’t the only one who has been the victim of this spiritual ordination. There have been many cases that never got the media coverage or maybe never even got reported, but they all suffered the same fate. They all endured the same sexual and mental abuse.
Just a few months ago, there was the case of 14-year-old Maria Shahbaz, who was raped and taped. To eradicate the stains of sexual abuse, the girl was forcefully ordained and with the knot of marriage the whole dilemma of sexual abuse and abduction was erased.
Somehow her parents found a way to question the reliability of the marriage certificate and provide proof the child was a minor. But the court just turned everything into a joke for the people seeking justice and announced the misery of the child would continue by handing her over to her abductors. As the girl had the label of puberty engraved within her body, she was old enough to tie the knot of marriage, the court decided.
I don't think I have the audacity to even imagine the life the court gifted the precious child. Maria is not the only one who received the splendid present of living with her abductor. Huma Younus, who is now pregnant with the child of her abductor, received a similar verdict of life with her abductor. Can you imagine that? Can you feel the sense of intimidation these innocent lambs might endure their whole lives?
How many more innocent lambs have to be slaughtered before we realize that these lambs have the right to live? They don’t deserve to bleed to the point of death. While we are focused on the brutality faced by the green lambs in neighboring lands, why do we turn a blind eye to this annihilation of white lambs in our own peaceful land? Will you dare to call this hypocrisy or will you just condone the religiously decreed abuse?
The children who were abducted and molested, all ordained in the name of religion, are in a living hell now. What we might witness of her is nothing more than a corpse. She might be counting the days in the grave our system has lowered her into with an anthem of resurrection that she will sing the day she embraces her mother again.
Anee Muskan is a published author and young journalist in Pakistan who writes about religious affairs and minority rights. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.