For the umpteenth time no progress has been made in the case of Huma Younus, the 14-year-old Catholic girl abducted on 10 October last year in Karachi, Pakistan, then raped, forcibly ‘converted‘ to Islam and forced to ‘marry‘ her own abductor.
As reported to ACN by the lawyer representing the parents of Huma, Tabassum Yousaf, 19th March there was a new hearing at the High Court of Sindh, the province within which Karachi lies. Once again on this occasion, the girl was not brought to court as requested by the judges.
On the other hand there were some results from the long-awaited medical visit, to attest the actual age of Huma. Despite the fact that, right from the outset, the parents have produced both the birth certificate and the baptismal certificate of their daughter – which clearly state the date of her birth as 22 May 2005 – her Muslim abductor, Abdul Jabbar, has continued to insist that the girl is an adult. After repeated failures, attributed by the police to the impossibility of making contact with the girl in order to conduct the medical examination, the result was announced recently: according to the examination of her bones, the doctors stated that Huma was 17 years old.
A finding that does not correspond to her true age, but which nonetheless confirms that the girl is under age and thereby proves the illegality both of her conversion and of her claimed marriage. Yet despite this, no arrest warrant was issued for Abdul Jabbar, nor was he ordered to return Huma to her parental home. The judges confined themselves to announcing a new hearing on 16 April this year, by which time Huma will have already spent six months in the hands of her tormentor, the victim of daily abuse.
“This confirms what we have always believed“, her mother, Nagheeno Younus tells ACN. “The judges are taking their time, waiting for her to reach the age of 18, so that they can then close the case. By declaring that my little girl is 17, it will be enough for them to wait a few months and then abandon her to her fate.”
Moreover, there are serious doubts as to the integrity of the local police, who were charged with supervising the outcome of the medical examination. On a number of occasions members of the police have acted in the interests of her abductor Abdul Jabbar, who has even forced Huma to level a charge against her own parents in which she allegedly asserts that she is afraid her own family members might kill her.
The Italian office of ACN is accompanying the family and supports them during the legal process. “Sadly, though, it has gone the way we feared“, says the director of ACN Italy, Alessandro Monteduro. “The first two levels of the judiciary have not given justice to Huma. But we are not giving up, and, together with her lawyer Yousaf, we are going to take the case to the Supreme Court. This was the court which finally set Asia Bibi free, though her release seems not to bring about any change for the better for the religious minorities in Pakistan.“