11/23/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – The UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been urged to offer asylum to Maira Shahbaz, a 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was abducted, forcefully married, and forcefully converted to Islam earlier this year. According to Aid to the Church in Need, Shahbaz remains under threat months after she escaped her abductor and returned to her family.
On April 28, 2020, Shahbaz was abducted at gunpoint by Mohamad Nakash Tariq, a 45-year-old man, and two accomplices while walking home in Madina Town, near Faisalabad. According to witnesses, the abductors forced Shahbaz into a car and fired gunshots in the air as they fled the scene.
Aid to the Church in Need reports Shahbaz told police she was drugged, raped, and force to sign blank papers that were later used by Nakash as a marriage certificate and a conversion certificate. Shahbaz also claimed that Nakash filmed her being raped and threatened to release the video online if she resisted.
In August, Shahbaz escaped Nakash’s custody and fled into hiding with her parents. Her escape took place five days after the Lahore High Court validated her marriage to Nakash.
Recently, more than 9,000 people signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to grant Shahbaz and her family asylum in the UK. Supporters claim that Shahbaz faces threats from vigilantes who accuse her of committing apostasy for breaking off the marriage with Nakash.
In a statement, Shahbaz appealed directly to Prime Minister Johnson. “I am very much scared due to the threats to my life and my family,” Shahbaz said in the statement. “Please protect me.”
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.