03/27/2019 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, on February 25, Saima Iqbal was abducted and forcefully converted to Islam by a Muslim criminal on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city. When Saima’s husband of 15 years, Naveed Iqbal, was informed about the abduction, he immediately went to local police where he found very little help.
Speaking to Morning Star News, Naveed said that the officers he talked to on February 25 took no action. Instead, they alerted the man who had abducted his wife, Muhammad Khalid Satti, that Naveed was attempting to file a report against him.
“On March 5, police informed me that Saima had been found, but that she had converted to Islam and married Satti,” Naveed told Morning Star News. The officers went on to tell Iqbal that he should forget about his wife and stop pursuing the case.
Refusing to believe the officers, Naveed continued to pursue the matter and pleaded with the Superintendent of Police. This led to Satti being arrested as well as Saima being recovered and taken to a women’s shelter.
However, the next day, Saima was forced by local police to make a statement that she had converted to Islam and married Satti of her own free will Morning Star News reported. This forced statement was made in the presence of Satti, Saima’s tormentor and abductor, who threatened severe consequences against her family if she did not comply.
With no other option, Saima and Naveed took to social media to pled for help. They uploaded a video to Facebook in which Saima described the crime against her and pleaded for help from Pakistan’s Prime Minister.
The video went viral and eventually led to Pakistan’s Federal Government getting involved in the case. As a result, Satti has been rearrested, Saima has been returned to her family, and the local police officers have been dismissed for criminal negligence.
The issue of abduction and forced conversion to Islam remains a particularly difficult issue for religious minorities in Pakistan. In a study done by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, the group estimated as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are victims of abduction and forced conversion in Pakistan every year.
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