Pakistan: rape and forced conversion of girls still reigns

The sister of a Christian pastor was kidnapped, repeatedly raped and forced to convert to Islam. This happened in the town of Chunian, south of Lahore in the province of Punjab, Pakistan.

Muzamal Arif, Pastor Aurangzeb's sister, was kidnapped about a month ago by Muslim men while returning home from college. She was held for days, suffering sexual abuse, threats and violence. In a state of terror and exhaustion, she was coerced into conversion to Islam, followed by a forced marriage. The girl is now a Muslim and married to Muhammad Nadeem.

Her family reported the incident to police in Chunian, but police have not conducted any investigation, instead they presented a report of the court attesting how the girl is now a Muslim and legally married. Among other things, the girl is a minor and, according to the law, marriage is not permitted to minors. "But the kidnappers' family is rich and powerful and manages to also bypass this legal measure" note local Christians.

Pastor Mustaq Gill, president of Legal Evangelical Association Development, a non-governmental advocacy organization, explained "The practice of forced conversion and forced marriage is widespread: rich and powerful Muslims take advantage, especially in rural areas and girls are victims of religious minorities." According to the Fides news service, in Pakistan there are about 1,000 similar cases each year committed against Christian and Hindu girls. To combat the phenomenon, widely recognized by civil authorities, the "National Commission for Religious Minorities" has prepared a draft law, that Christians support and hope that it may soon be considered by Parliament. 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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