03/28/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On March 26, the Sessions Court of Sahiwal, located in Pakistan’s Punjab province, ordered that Saima Javaid, a 13-year-old Christian girl, be returned to her family 25 days after her abduction by two Muslim men. This order marks a rare victory for Pakistani Christians affected by the issue of abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage.
According to Sajida Bibi, Saima’s mother, Saima was abducted by Shan Shera and Nazir Shera on March 1. The abduction took place when Saima was collecting water from a hand-pump hear her home.
On March 26, Saima appeared before the Sessions Court of Sahiwal and testified that she had been abducted and was forced to convert to Islam and forced to marry Shan Shera. In response to this testimony, the judge ordered Saima be returned to her family and directed the police to take legal action against Shan and Nazir Shera.
“We are very poor and work at a brick kiln factory,” Javiad Masih, Saima’s father told International Christian Concern (ICC). “Therefore, our daughters are often sexually harassed by influential Muslims.”
“The police did not listen to us for five days,” Masih explained. “However, when news of the abduction when viral on social media, the police registered a First Information Report (FIR # 137/20) against the abductors on March 5.”
“I was deeply depressed and thought of committing suicide when I lost my daughter,” Bibi told ICC. “Young Christian girls are not safe in this country. Muslims consider them as their property or slaves and therefore humiliate them as they wish. The authorities must ensure the protection of the marginalized groups and punishment for Saima’s abductors.”
According to a study done by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan in 2014, approximately 1,000 Christians and Hindus, primarily girls and young women, are abducted, sexually assaulted, forcefully converted to Islam, and married to their abductors annually. In most cases, victims are intimidated into silence and remain captured by their abductors.
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