12/07/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Police in Faisalabad, Pakistan recovered Farah Shaheen, a 12-year-old Christian girl who was abducted in June. Human rights activists report Shaheen had marks of abuse on her body and was transferred to a shelter home by local courts.
“Officials first brought [Shaheen] to the police station after negotiations with the criminals,” Lala Robin Daniel, a local activist, told UCAN. “Her ankles and feet were wounded. They were bandaged at the police station. She was in trauma and couldn’t talk about the torture.”
Shaheen’s parents reported that three Muslims, including 45-year-old Khizar Ahmad Ali, abducted Shaheen from their home on June 25. After the abduction, Shaheen’s parents claim their daughter was forcefully married to Ali and converted to Islam.
“Her marriage, forceful conversion, and injured feet speak of the horror,” Daniel later posted on social media. “Underage girls from religious minorities are unsafe due to faulty and incomplete lawmaking. Police, judiciary, and weak laws make fun of poor parents.”
Last week, Pakistan’s Prime Minister ordered an investigation into reports of forced conversions of women and girls from the country’s religious minority communities. Other government officials went on to say that forced conversions and forced marriages would not be tolerated.
According to a 2014 study by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are abducted, forcefully married, and forcefully converted every year. Many of the victims are minors. Sexual assaults and fraudulent marriages are used by perpetrators to entrap victims and authorities are often complicit.
The issue of religion is injected into cases of sexual assault to place victims from religious minority communities at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, perpetrators know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing an element of religion.
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