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06/14/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – As students at a private school in Northern Waziristan protested the recent kidnapping of a minor girl, the international community remains largely silent on the growing number of abductions in Pakistan.

While a few cases, like Huma Younus’, have gained some international attention, many more go unnoticed by the international community. Some reports indicate that religious minority girls are targeted in nearly 1,000 kidnapping attempts every year.

Such cases often involve three stages: first, the girl is kidnapped, then she is forcefully converted to Islam at a local mosque, and finally, she is forced to marry her kidnapper or another individual. The situation became severe enough that Pakistan established a parliamentary committee to hold hearings and investigate the problem. The committee held a few hearings but has yet to produce anything of substance.

The international community has not raised enough pressure around this issue, allowing Pakistani leadership to escape accountability in their lack of response and the climate of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of these vicious crimes. Kidnappers often provide falsified paperwork indicating that the girl is of age and documentation “proving” her willing conversion to Islam. Local community leaders often support kidnappers.

Although human trafficking generally receives much international attention, world leaders pay virtually no attention to religious minority girls being kidnapped in Pakistan.

Religious minorities make up a small percentage of Pakistan’s population but are the constant targets of religiously motivated attacks, abuse, and other forms of discrimination. Kidnappings, forced conversions, and forced marriages are just a few ways that members of the majority Muslim community abuse religious minorities.

International Christian Concern continues to monitor these kidnapping cases and is growing increasingly concerned about their impact on the Christian community in Pakistan,” said Matias Perttula, ICC’s Director of Advocacy. “The international community can and must do more to pressure Pakistan’s leadership to prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.”

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].