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Pakistani Christian girl freed five months after abduction

Activists appeal to observe Human Rights Day as a Black Day against forced conversions.
 Pakistani Christian girl freed five months after abduction

Farah Shaheen, aged 12, at Police Station in a police station in Pakistan's Faisalabad in December first week, when she was released three months after her abduction, forced conversion to Islam and marriage. (Photo: supplied)

Published: December 07, 2020 09:39 AM GMT

Police in Pakistan's Faisalabad area have freed a 12-year-old Christian girl, five months after Muslim men allegedly abducted, forcibly converted her to Islam, and one of them married her.

Police produced Farah Shaheen before the district court of Faisalabad last week, and the court sent to a shelter house, rights activists said social media posts on Dec. 6.

"Officials first brought her to the police station after negotiations with criminals. Her ankles and feet were wounded. They were bandaged at the police station. She was in trauma and couldn't tell about the torture," social activist Lala Robin Daniel told UCA News.

Shaheen's parents complained to police that three Muslims on June 25 kidnapped their minor daughter from their house in the Ahmedabad area.

They claimed 45-year-old Khizar Ahmad Ali forcibly converted her to Islam and married her.

"Her marriage, forceful conversion, and injured feet speak of the horror. Police, judiciary, and weak laws make fun of poor parents," Daniel said in a social media post.

"The underage girls of religious minorities are unsafe due to faulty and incomplete lawmaking," Daniel said in a social media post on Dec. 6, while sharing the news.

He urged Christians in Pakistan to the Dec. 10 International Human Rights Day as a black day in a social media appeal.

Nadeem Bhatti, President Canadian Aid to Persecuted Christians, wanted Pakistani Christians to protest, seeking the abductors' arrest.

"Every Christian family nationwide should join the protest. Rise and bury this joke. Your protest will protect your coming generations...speak the truth now. Time is short," he said.

"Police seem to be supporting the criminals. Clerics and politicians who claim Pakistan is a heaven for minorities are distant from the community. The government should take quick action against this and ensure strict punishment for the Khizar and his group," he said.

Reports show hundreds of girls from religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians are abducted and converted to Islam and married every year with impunity in the Muslim-majority nation.

Church officials often blame law enforcement agencies for facilitating such crimes.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an investigation on a case-by-case basis of minor girls' forced conversions from religious minorities.

According to a recently published Center for Social Justice study (2013-20), the highest alleged forced conversions (52 percent) were reported in Punjab, with 44 percent in Sindh province.

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