Forced Conversions and Marriages Tick Up in Pakistan
6/10/2019 Pakistan (International Christian Concern)- Several young girls have been kidnapped in recent months across Pakistan, most recently at the end of May. Forced conversions by way of kidnappings and marriages are considered one of the most detrimental abuses that Christian women face as minorities in Pakistan.
In March, two sisters, age 12 and age 16, were kidnapped and were subjected to forced conversions by a Muslim cleric. The family considers themselves lucky because although they had to pay a large fine to get back their girls, the young women were not ultimately subjected to forced marriages, though the trauma and fear remain.
Few cases eventually reach the courts with favorable outcomes, though the family of a young Christian girl who was kidnapped in February has been pushing for justice. Their daughter, age 15, was kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted and married off to a Muslim man. In cases like these, the family must work to bring the perpetrators to justice in an attempt to stop what appears to be a never-ending cycle of forced conversions.
The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is quoted as saying, “the ugly reality of forced conversions is that they are not seen as a crime, much less a problem that should concern mainstream, Muslim Pakistan”. Although there are cases where courts prosecute kidnappers and those forcibly converting young girls, it is not enough to curb the trend that has emerged. Activists, parents and Christians are speaking up to raise awareness of their plight.
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