Reena Meghwar, who was abducted and forcibly married by a Muslim man, is reunited with her family in Sindh province, Pakistan, on July 26. (Photo supplied)
A Hindu girl abducted and forced to marry a Muslim man in Sindh province of Pakistan was reunited with her parents by local authorities on July 26.
The rare victory for Pakistani minorities battling forced conversions of their girls came after a video of the victim pleading for help went viral on social media. The provincial government took notice and ordered police to investigate the matter.
Ayaz Latif Palijo, a progressive politician from Sindh, shared the video on Twitter showing Reena Meghwar, who was kidnapped on Feb. 13, talking about threats to her and her family.
“They kidnapped me. I want to go to my parents. Please send me to my parents. If I state this in court, police will abduct me. They have threatened that they will kill my brothers and family,” Reena was seen saying in the video while crying in a frightened state.
“This is how our girls are being treated,” said Palijo, who later thanked the Sindh police and judiciary for taking cognizance and handing over the girl to her parents.
He tweeted late on July 26 acknowledging the positive response from federal and provincial ministers that led Badin police to locate and produce the girl in the Badin court, which handed her custody to her parents.
We have to raise our voices and encourage all abducted and forcibly married girls of minorities so that they may also come forward like her
Murtaza Wahab, spokesman for the Sindh government, confirmed the court decision and the transfer of Reena to her parents’ house. Police were deployed outside the house and four persons were arrested for abducting and torturing her.
Reena was allegedly kidnapped by Qasim Kashkheli from Kario Ghanwar in Badin district and was reportedly forced to marry him by forging documents to show her as Muslim.
Advocate Ram Kohli, counsel for the girl’s parents, had notified a local court in April that the girl was under mental stress and needed immediate medical care. But she was sent back to her husband by the court.
Samson Salamat, a Christian activist who runs a group promoting interreligious harmony, said Reena was threatened by her abductors who forced her to give a statement against her wishes. But she had bravely stood for her freedom.
“We have to raise our voices and encourage all abducted and forcibly married girls of minorities so that they may also come forward like her,” he said while thanking all those who stood in support of Reena and her family.
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