07/29/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, human rights groups in Pakistan gathered to protest the ongoing kidnapping and forced conversion of young minority girls in the country. They demanded that the government implement legal safeguards to protect these girls, who are often underaged. The activists highlighted two such cases involving underaged girls. In the first case, 15-year-old Saba Nadeem was kidnapped, forced to convert, and forced to marry a 45-year-old man in May. In the second case, 12-year-old Maha Asif was likewise kidnapped, forced to convert, and also forced to sign fraudulent marriage papers in June.
While authorities fortunately rescued both Saba Nadeem and Maha Asif from their kidnappers, the kidnappers have yet to face any justice. For other abducted minority girls in Pakistan, though, some never even successfully escape their captivity, let alone win legal cases against their abusers. 15-year-old Chashman Kanwal, for example, was stolen away from her family to be forcibly converted and married this month; authorities have yet to recover her. The human rights groups who gathered yesterday argued that laws cracking down on forgery, sexual violence, child marriages, and forced conversions are necessary to combat egregious crimes against minority girls. They also asserted that enforcing existing laws is necessary to protect this vulnerable group.
Government action is urgently needed because Muslims kidnap thousands of minority girls every year in Pakistan, many of them Christian. Shahid Mobeen, professor of philosophy at the Pontifical University in Rome, reports that about 2,000 forced conversions and marriages occur annually in the country. We pray that the government of Pakistan would hear the voices of activists and take swift action against the kidnapping of young girls in this South Asian nation.
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