In Pakistan, a 13-year-old Christian girl was made to convert to Islam when her family was threatened. The teenager was kidnapped in Gujranwala, Pakistan, and was then converted to Islam. Her father told reporters that she was forced to marry her abductor, who is Muslim, shortly after the abduction. The father of the victim has said that he is looking for justice for his family, according to Dawn.
Arif Town tailor Shahid Gill said that a nearby shop owner offered to hire his 13-year-old daughter as a salesgirl. His daughter was adamant about not going to work at the shop, however. He said that the kidnapper, who is Muslim, had carried on asking for help in his business while requesting Gill’s daughter’s assistance, and because of his (Gill’s) financial disadvantage, he had agreed to his daughter working at his neighbor’s store.
During his search for his daughter on May 20, Gill learned that his daughter was unaccounted for, and some neighbours informed him that she was seen getting into a pickup truck with the kidnapper and other people.
The kidnapper lodged a complaint with the Ferozewala police station on May 29, and a case was opened on his behalf and the others on June 1. The girl testified in a local court, where her statement was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). A police officer testified in court that the girl willingly left her home to convert to Islam and later get married.
He said the court had allowed the girl to go with her purported husband, who was later revealed to be a con artist, and also issued an order for the police to end the case. Police were subsequently ordered to comply with the court order. According to Gill, however, his daughter was thirteen and a half years old, which made the court sceptical of her voluntary conversion and marriage.
Under this Act, no marriage could be registered if one of the spouses was under the age of 18, and the other was under the age of 16. After hearing Gill’s complaints, the judge stated that he would give credence to the girl’s statement. The father explained that the man was already married and had four children, three daughters and a son. The man alleged that his daughter was kidnapped and forced to convert and marry against her will.
In order to receive justice, he requested the government confirm his daughter’s age with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and ensure they handed out punishment to the perpetrators. Recent reports have found that minorities in Pakistan, especially Hindus, are experiencing increased levels of persecution and violence at the hands of state and non-state actors.
More than 1,000 12- to 28-year-old Sindhi Hindu girls every year are kidnapped, married off against their will, and forced to convert to Islam, according to the US-based Sindhi Foundation. The country has offered to guarantee the rights of minorities a number of times. Attacks on minorities speak to a different storey, however.
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