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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

World

Pakistan army sexually abusing minority women: NGO
IANS
New York, March 23, 2010
First Published: 12:49 IST(23/3/2010)
Last Updated: 12:55 IST(23/3/2010)

The Pakistani army is sexually assaulting minority women and using them as sex slaves, alleges the European Organization of Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), an NGO working for the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

In a prayer-cum-demonstration held at the UN, it said the Pakistani army is taking minority women away from their families, raping them and then using them as sex slaves.

Referring to the December attacks on Christians in Lahore, the organisation alleged that attacks on minorities in Pakistan were increasing.

Using a symbolic broken chair to highlight the plight of minorities in Pakistan, more than 100 women from different faiths lit candles at the prayer to highlight the plight of minority women allegedly being raped and killed by the Pakistani Army.

Expressing concern over the plight of women of Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, the organisers said army officials are taking them to torture camps, raping them and then using them as sex slaves.

"One such case is of that Zarina Marri who is a 23-year-old school teacher from Quetta and is being used as a sex slave by the Pakistani Army," the  EOPM said in a statement.

It said international observers and the media should be allowed free access to Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan to meet families whose women members have disappeared and yet no police cases have been registered.

The organisation demanded that the UN organise a special session on the plight of Pakistani women.

According to the EOPM, religious minorities constitute much more than five percent - as claimed in Pakistani census - of Pakistan's 160 million population.

However, the census intentionally keeps minority population low to deny them greater representation, it said.

Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities are constant targets of attacks in Pakistan, it said, citing Minority Rights Group International, a watchdog organisation, which ranked Pakistan last year as, "the world's top country for major increases in threats to minorities since 2007".

Pakistan has also been listed seventh among the 10 most dangerous countries for minorities, after Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Congo.


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