Pakistan: Christian girl abducted into forced marriage with Muslim employer, lawyer demands police action

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan has pressured Pakistani police to find and rescue a 15-year-old local Christian girl who was abducted and forced into marriage with her Muslim employer: officers had ignored earlier pleas for help from the girl’s impoverished father, Morning Star News (MSN) reports.

Sitara Arif was kidnapped on December 15 by 60-year-old Rana Tayyab in the Yousafabad area of Faisalabad, MSN reports. Her family had despaired of getting Sitara back after local police refused to help them find her, apparently because of their poverty and their Christian minority status. “I went to the police station to report my daughter’s kidnapping, but they refused to accept my complaint and forced me out of the building,” Sitara’s physically handicapped father, Arif Gill, told MSN.

“I’m unable to earn a livelihood, so my wife and daughter work as domestic help to provide for the family,” Gill said. “We have always been very protective about our daughter, and it never occurred to us that she would be targeted by a man five times her age.”

Sitara’s family now has renewed hope that she will return home after lawyer and chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, attorney Akmal Bhatti heard about the case on February 3, MSN reports. Bhatti demanded a meeting with Faisalabad’s regional police chief on February 4, and this resulted in a complaint being officially filed with orders issued for the arrest of Tayyab and the recovery of Sitara.

“We are continuing to build pressure on the officials nonetheless so that they don’t slack in their responsibility,” Bhatti told MSN. Bhatti additionally criticized the National Commission on the Rights of Child and Punjab’s Child Protection & Welfare Bureau for doing nothing to halt the ongoing rampant violations of young girls like Satira. “It is time for the state to take responsibility and protect our children from being exploited under the guise of religious conversion,” he said.

With 1,000 Christian and Hindu underage girls forced into Islamic marriages every year, Islamic majority Pakistan ranks 7th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous for Christians to live.


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