On March 16 this year, a 17-year-old Christian girl Komal, who is reportedly deaf and mute, was kidnapped from her house and forcefully married to a Muslim man in her neighbourhood in Lahore in Pakistan, reported British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).
As per reports, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed on March 17 by the Sandha police in connection to the abduction of the minor girl. However, the police did not take any action against the accused. It was after the intervention of local MP Tariq Gill that the police started to trace the last call which the victim’s mother Rubina received before she went missing. During the probe, the suspects were identified as Ali Mubashir and Mohammed Azeem. The police found that the duo was around the location of the victim’s house when she went missing.
When police contacted Azeem, he decided to come for questioning but later became untraceable for two months along with Mubashir. On April 10, Rubina received another call where she allegedly heard the voice of her daughter. On being reported to the police, the number was traced to their neighbour Kashif Ghulam Rasool. Besides Rasool, three others including Muhammed Azeem, Mubashir Ali and one Ali Abbas were found to have forced the victim into a van. One of the accused, however, remains unidentified. The Sandha police then arrested the trio from a house in Deepalpur in Okara district while Kashif Ghulam Rasool remained on the run.
Victim is the property of abductor Kashif, claims his paternal uncle
Later, the paternal uncle of Kashif turned up at the police station of June 5 and produced the victim, who had been missing for 2 months. He produced a fake Islamic marriage certificate and a birth certificate that claimed that her age was 18. He had also produced a certificate that showed that she had willingly accepted Islam. While he allowed the victim to meet her parents, he cautioned that she would not be returned to the family. He claimed that the victim was the property of her husband and should be returned to her husband following the meetup.
Police refused to give the custody of the victim to the parents
On meeting her daughter, Rubina said that Komal was in a distressed state during their communication in sign language. The victim had communicated that she was raped regularly by 5 Muslim men and longed to be in their custody, instead of her abductor. However, when Rubina said the same thing to the police, they refused to grant her permission to take her daughter with her. Later, MP Tariq Gill visited the police station and demanded the release of the victim and a further probe into the matter. During a medical examination on June 6, conducted by Dr Tauqir Asifa, it was confirmed that the victim was subjected to both physical and sexual abuse. The medical test, conducted at the Health Department of the Government of Punjab, found multiple scars on the left foot and wounds on her right forearm.
Komal narrates her ordeal
While communicating via sign language at the District Education Officer (Special Education) in Lahore, she narrated, “I was cleaning the floor of my house at around 1:30 pm. Suddenly Kashif Ghulam Rasool and her mother Raqiya came and dragged me out of my house by my arm. I’m deaf-mute so I could not make any noise to catch the attention of family members. They took me into a car and drove me to the other side of the River Ravi. On 19th March they took me to Jamia Nameea Lahore and was converted to Islam, Kashif made me do it. Kashif Ghulam Rasool forced me to marry him. After that, my husband took me to different places to avoid arrest by the police and he often beat me.”
Prime accused granted pre-arrest bail, victim still recovering
Kashif and his mother Raqiya, who also assaulted the victim, applied for a pre-bail arrest and Additional Sessions Judge Lahore, Ch. Zulfiqar Ali, granted bail to the duo on a surety bond of 30,000 PKR each. Later, Qari Muhammad Saeed of Dar-Ul-Aloom Jamia Naeemia gave a statement saying that Komal had converted without any fear or duress on the March 19 and that her marriage was legal. The father of the victim, Patras Masih, has lamented about the poor policing in the case. Following a protest outside Lahore Press Club, DSP Javed Sadiq of Central Investigation Agency assured the victim’s parents of a fair investigation on 4th November 2020. reportedly, the victim is in a secret place now and recovering from the trauma.
Chairperson for the British Asian Christian Association,Juliet Chowdhry, stated, “This young woman has suffered the vilest and horrid attack. “There are few women my age that could survive such an ordeal and yet despite her young years, she has shown a strength and faith in God that is remarkable. She prayed and trusted in God – knowing full well he was going to set her free. My daughter Hannah is the same age as Komal and also understands British Sign Language, she hopes to communicate with her soon to share prayers and to encourage her. When she heard of these horrors she wept – all Christian women should be moved to tears at the base cruelty faced by our sisters in Pakistan. This story should be a wake-up call – but how many of you will actually actively get involved in eradicating this evil?”