PAKISTAN – Christian girls being abducted and forced to marry Muslims
Sarwar Masih is a Pakistani Christian whose 23 year old daughter, Laveeza Bibi, has been abducted. Two armed Muslims forced their way into the family home of Sarwar Masih in the district of Kasur, in Punjab, threatened her parents and took the girl away. One of the kidnappers, Muhammad Talib, has since forced the girl to convert to Islam and marry him.
Masih immediately went to the local police station, but police were reluctant to register an official complaint (First Information Report). The family then sought the help of the lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, head of “Lead” (Legal Evangelical Association Development), which seeks to provide free assistance to Christian victims of abuse. Only after the intervention of Gill, did the police register the complaint against Talib, the man responsible for Laveeza’s abduction and forced marriage.
This is not an isolated case but has become a growing problem for Christian girls and young women who are afraid to go out alone for fear of being abducted.”During the month of April, in the area of Kasur alone, we have known five cases of Christian girls kidnapped and converted to Islam by force, and forced to marry their abductors. These girls are denied the full legal protection of their individual rights” said Gill.
The problem of abduction and forced marriage of young Christian women is escalating and has reached worrying proportions, with about a thousand cases a year reported and many more that go unreported. Christian humanitarian organisations are working to raising awareness of discrimination and violence against women in Pakistan. Christian and Hindu religious minority women are the most vulnerable and defenseless and subject to abuses that often go unpunished as the police and authorities will not act.