(International Christian Concern) – According to Asia News, a 12-year-old Christian girl from Pakistan’s Punjab province was abducted by an adult Muslim man last week. The girl’s family believes she has been taken to another province to be forcefully converted to Islam and married to her abductor.
On November 2, Meerab Abbas, age 12, was abducted by Muhammad Daud, a Muslim adult and native of Balochistan. Meerab was reportedly abducted by Daud from Sahiwal and taken to Balochistan to be forcefully converted to Islam and married to Daud.
The abduction was reported to local police who have arrested two suspects. However, Meerab remains missing, likely in the hands of her abductors.
Meerab’s mother, Farzana, has reportedly been admitted into a local hospital due to emotional distress. Cecil George, a relative, said Farzana’s mental health is in critical condition and no information regarding Meerab’s location has been discovered.
“Farzana has already had many challenges to face in life,” Pastor Zahid Augustine, a pastor in Sahiwal, told Asia News. “We ask the government to consider kidnappings and forced marriages as a serious problem and to legislate in favor of minorities.”
“Meerab is only 12-years-old,” Pastor Augustine continued. “She cannot marry, but the perpetrators commit these crimes in the name of religion. We just want justice.”
According to a 2014 study by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women and girls are abducted, forcefully married, and forcefully converted to Islam every year.
Many victims are minors taken from their families, sexually assaulted, married to an assailant, and held in captivity justified by falsified marriage and conversion documents. Violence, threats, and grooming tactics are used to compel victims to make statements in court supporting their captors.
The issue of religion is also often injected into these cases to place religious minorities at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, perpetrators know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing the element of religion.
Photo: Facebook Catholic in Pakistan