Pakistani police discovered the bodies of two Christian women in Lahore on Jan. 4 who were reportedly killed by their Muslim supervisors for not converting to Islam.
Sisters Sajida Mushtaq and Abida Qaiser were found bound, stuffed inside a sack, then dumped near a drainage ditch, Morning Star News reports.
The women had been missing since Nov. 26.
Sajida’s husband, Mushtaq Masih told police that his wife had previously mentioned that she was being pestered by her Muslim supervisors at work.
“My wife often complained of harassment by her supervisors, but she used to tell me that she was handling the situation well,” Masih told Morning Star News. “After she went missing, one of my relatives shared with us that Sajida had confided in her that her supervisors, Muhammad Mumtaz and Naeem Butt, used to pressure her and Abida to convert to Islam and marry them.”
Masih filed a police report after his wife and sister-in-law failed to return home from work. Officer Iftikhar Hussain, who was investigating the case, said police questioned Mumtaz and Butt after they were told that Mumtaz used to torment the two women, telling them to marry him.
The two suspects subsequently confessed to killing the sisters.
“During interrogation, Naeem confessed that they had abducted the sisters, and after keeping them hostage for a few days for satisfying their lust, had slit their throats and thrown their bodies into the drain,” Hussain told Morning Star News.
Masih and other family member were asked to identity both bodies. “I still cannot fathom the sight of seeing my wife’s decomposed body,” Masih said.
“I have three sons and a daughter – the eldest 11 years old, and the youngest 5 – while Abida has only one daughter, aged 9,” he added. “You can imagine the emotional and mental trauma our children and all other family members have been suffering since Sajida and Abida had gone missing. When police informed us that they had identified the two bodies as those of our loved ones, it seemed that our entire world had come crumbling down.”
Punjab Province Minister for Minorities and Human Rights Ejaz Alam Augustine attended to the grieving family members.
“No words are enough to condemn the barbarity meted out to the two innocent women,” the minister said.
Augustine explained the number of forced conversions of Christian women and girls in Punjab was rising, but that authorities are enacting laws to punish those involved.
“We have sent a draft bill to the provincial law ministry for vetting. It will be introduced in the Punjab Assembly after evolving consensus of all political parties,” he said.
Pakistan is ranked fifth on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.