A minor Christian girl in Pakistan was allegedly raped after she refused to convert to Islam, Pakistani netizens have claimed. The hashtag, #JusticeforSunitaMasih, has been trending on Twitter for the last two days after several prominent personalities, including celebrities and civil society members, tweeted about the incident, calling on Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice and ensure that justice was provided to the girl.
However, police officials in Faisalabad and Sukkur on Thursday denied reports of the alleged rape and torture of the minor Christian girl in their respective cities as netizens shared posts detailing the victim's purported ordeal and demanding that authorities should take action against the perpetrators.
An analysis of the trend using the Twitter analytics tool, socialbearing.com, showed that the hashtag was initially tweeted on May 24 at around 5 pm. The trend picked up the next day and the hashtag has since been tweeted hundreds of times by users, the majority of whom are from Pakistan.
Among those who tweeted about the girl's ordeal was popular Pakistani actress Armeena Rana Khan. Khan in her tweet alleged that the 14-year-old from Faisalabad was gang-raped and asked to recite the Kalima. When the minor girl refused to do so, her head was shaved, she claimed.
When the alleged incident was brought to the notice of Azhar Mashwani, Punjab chief minister's focal person for digital media, he said it had taken place in Shikarpur, Sindh instead of Faisalabad.
However, police officials from both Faisalabad and Shikarpur have denied that any such incident took place in the two cities.
Faisalabad City Police Officer (CPO) Mohammad Sohail Chaudhry said it is a 'false news' that a girl in Faisalabad has been raped and forced to convert to Islam.
'This was verified and [it was] found out that facts are contrary and the incident is related to Sukkur District,' he said in a statement, adding that SSP Sukkur Irfan Samoo had also corroborated it.
However, Sukkur Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Fida Hussain categorically denied that a Christian girl was subjected to criminal assault by anyone.
'This probably happened in Faisalabad, not Sukkur,' he said. Nobody has so far come forward with a complaint regarding the alleged incident, he said, adding: 'We are ready to proceed if some complaint is lodged or some evidence is produced before us. Sukkur police is ready to take action if any such offence has been committed by someone regardless of the religion of the woman or girl.' Meanwhile, activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir has now raised questions about the authenticity of the incident.
“I would advise people to verify news before sharing it. While atrocities on Christian and Hindu girls is a fact, there are miscreants out there who exploit issues for funding fraud purposes & hurt the cause/case of so many,' he tweeted.