Huma Younus, a Christian girl who was kidnapped from her home in Karachi on October 10 last year, has become pregnant due to the incessant sexual violence perpetrated by her abductor Abdul Jabbar, reported ACT International. As per the report, she has been confined to the four walls of one room in the abductor’s house. Younus is not allowed to leave that house or return to her parents.
Following her abduction, she was reportedly taken to Dera Ghazi Khan, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, about 600 Kms from her home. A few days after her conversion, the family of the girl had received conversion papers and a marriage certificate. However, her mother Nagina Younas had claimed that the papers were fake, as it took several hours to reach where she was taken but the date of conversion on the papers was the same as the day of her abduction.
Abdul has a brother named Mukhtiar who is a Ranger, a security force personnel. The latter has reportedly threatened to murder the parents of Younus if they came to look for their daughter. As per the report, the threats have been made over phone calls. Mukhtiar has also sent pictures of lethal weapons in a bid to intimidate the parents of the victim and warned that Younus will not return back even if all Christians in Pakistan demand for it. Moreover, he cautioned the parents that anyone who comes in his way will be killed.
As per the report, the case has been closed by the Judicial Magistrate (Karachi East), citing a lack of proof. Moreover, the High Court of Sindh is currently non-operational owing to the Coronavirus pandemic and reports suggest that the Court will reopen by August. Following an appeal to the same Judicial Magistrate for a re-examination of documents, the magistrate has asked NADRA, the public records authority, to produce her the victim’s birth certificate.
Case may be shelved indefinitely, fears victim’s parents
This is despite the fact that two official documents, namely, a statement by her school and a certificate of baptism from the Catholic parish of Saint James, Karachi, confirm her date of birth as May 22, 2005. The last hearing in the case took place on July 13. The parents of Younus fear that the girl will turn 18 in the following 3 years, post which the case may remain hung forever.
Reportedly, the lawyer representing Abdul in court has been employing every legal trick in the book to delay the case. As per the report, crimes against religious minorities in Pakistan are not addressed immediately or on a priority basis. Due to the lack of judicial autonomy in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, fast-tracking of the case of Huma Younus is not possible.
Pakistani Judiciary prejudiced against religious minorities
“According to my reading and based on experience, there are around 2000 such cases (of abduction) per year, whether reported or not. Justice delayed is justice denied, hence every delay in reaching judgement on the defence of the rights of religious minorities represents a denial of these rights.,” conceded Tabassum Yousaf.
She has accused the judicial system of being prejudiced against the Huma Younus due to her Faith. Yousaf emphasised that the authorities will ‘act immediately’ if such a thing is to happen to a Muslim girl. She is hopeful that the President of the Pakistan Supreme Court will intervene and grant justice in the case. She regretted that seeking justice at any other level of the judicial hierarchy will not be possible at any other level.
Sindh court rules in favour of the abductor in the Huma Younus case
In Pakistan, the Sindh court dismissed a petition to overturn a forced marriage and conversion of Huma Younus, a 14-year-old Christian girl from Karachi. The court stated that the marriage to her captor, Abdul Jabbar is valid under Islamic law since a girl can marry after she has had her first period.
Huma’s parents have been saying that the marriage is invalid, as the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act forbids marriage under the age of 18. But the judges, Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali Shah ruled that as per Sharia law, even if Huma was a minor, the marriage between her and her abductor Abdul Jabbar would be valid as she had already had her first menstrual cycle.