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07/06/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Recently, yet another Christian girl in Pakistan, Meerab Palous, has been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and fraudulently married to a Muslim man. Her kidnapping took place two weeks ago, on June 22. The 15-year-old girl was at home, with her parents asleep upstairs, when a family friend and neighbor drugged her and stole her away with the help of a half-brother. Other neighbors, who had seen the perpetrators loading the unconscious girl into a car, informed the girl’s parents the next morning of what had happened. The kidnapper’s family then soon declared to Meerab’s parents that Meerab must convert to Islam and marry her captor.

The two parents immediately went to the police to plead for help. The police refused to register their complaint, assuming without question that the girl had voluntarily gone to marry the Muslim neighbor. Now, the parents have taken the dispute to court, challenging fraudulent documents submitted to the government by the kidnappers. The perpetrators supplied a conversion certificate and a marriage certificate to the court, and the documents claim that Meerab is 18 years old and acted purely of her own volition. Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) is working with Meerab’s family to bring her home, saying in a statement, “We are with the victim’s family, and we will do our best to bring justice to them.”

This grave situation is a fresh reminder of the dire situation facing many girls and young women in Pakistan. One human right advocate estimated recently that about 2,000 such forced conversions and marriages take place annually in the country. It is important to keep drawing attention to these individual stories, though, for one major reason: these girls are not just statistics. They have names, faces, and families. We pray fervently for the rescue of Meerab and all the others like her, and we pray that justice will be done against their persecutors.

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