01/22/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Daily Mail, police in Pakistan dropped criminal charges against three Muslim men accused of kidnapping and abusing a 12-year-old Christian girl. Evidence shows that the Muslim men held the abducted Christian minor in captivity by chaining her up for five months and treating her like a slave.
On December 5, police recovered Farah Shaheen, a 12-year-old Christian girl who was abducted from her family in June. Human rights activists reported 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 the Union of Catholic Asian News (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 to police that three Muslims, including 45-year-old Khizar Hayat, abducted Shaheen from their home on June 25. After the abduction, Shaheen’s parents claim their daughter was forcefully married to Hayat 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.”
According to the Daily Mail, authorities dropped the charges against the three Muslim men after Shaheen testified that she willingly married her abductor. Shaheen’s family argued she is traumatized and fears retribution from her abductors if she gives testimony against them.
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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