A 14-year-old Christian girl, Myra Shehbaz, was abducted in Faislabad in Pakistan by Muhammad Naqash and his accomplice while she was travelling to her workplace in April 2020, reported Forbes.
Eye witness accounts by Pervez Masih, Younas Masih, and Naeem Masih state that Myra was forcibly abducted in a car while she resisted. The men were armed and as such the eyewitnesses could not help the victim. The accused also fired shots in the air. Speaking to International Christian Concern, her mother, Nighat, expressed fears of rape, forceful conversion to Islam, and even murder. She was indeed married off to her abductor and forcibly converted.
While Myra’s marriage certificate stated her age as 18, it contradicted her National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) certificate. As a part of the modus operandi, a typed statement that she had left her home willingly was also produced. The case is yet to be taken to the Court.
Persecution of religious Minorities
Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) has estimated that about 1000 Christian and Hindu women between 12 and 25 years are abducted, raped, married, and forced to convert to Islam. Due to limited financial means of the families of such victims, many cases go unreported.
On October 10 last year, another 14-year-old Huma Younus was abducted from her parents’ home in Karachi by a Muslim man named Abdul Jabbar, a resident of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab. Farzana (14), and Sehrish (16) were gang-raped by 3 Muslim men but the families were forced to settle the matter outside the Court. In the case of Sana John (13) and Mehwish (14) who were abducted by Muslims, the police conducted a botched investigation and no attempts were made to rescue them. A 11-year-old Christian girl named Maria Sarfraz was also gang-raped for 3 days but was forced to settle the matter outside.
Justice is rare in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In most cases, such abducted women never get to reunite with their families. In the case of Huma Yunus, a Pakistan Court upheld her marriage and forced conversion to Islam, despite her being underage. The case will now proceed to the Supreme Court.
Lack of proper investigation, prosecution of the accused, and denial of the right to the reunification of such abducted victims with their guardians make the victims an easy and vulnerable prey to the Islamic predators. It must be reiterated that every child deserves a normal childhood.
However, in an unprecedented judgment by the Lahore High Court, it was ruled that a 14-year-old Pumy Muskan who was forcibly converted to Islam lacked legal capacity to change her religion. The petitioner aka her mother Nasira, however, received some success in the case. “The Petitioner being the lawful guardian of Pumy Muskan is entitled to her custody. There is no reason to deprive her of that right”, the Court directed.
Minorities denied ration in Pakistan
Earlier, the Sindh Government had issued orders to local NGOs to distribute ration to poor daily-wage workers and labourers. However, the Hindus and Christians were singled out and denied their fair share of the ration by a Karachi-based NGO, Saylani Welfare Trust.
The Pakistani Hindus and Christians, most of who are daily wage workers, had gathered at Rehri Goth in Karachi to receive essential supplies. They were informed that the ration was meant only for Muslims and the minority were asked to go back. Moreover, no screening was done for the 3000 odd people who had gathered to receive ration. Similar treatment has been meted out to Hindus in Liyari, Sachal Ghoth, and other parts of Sindh.