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  • » 08/22/2008, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Kidnapped Christian girls, forced to convert and marry Muslims: difficulties for the return of one

    Qaiser Felix

    Saba and Anila Younas, both Christian, were abducted June 16 by a group of Muslims, and forced to marry and convert to Islam. A doctor’s report establishes that the eldest is 16 years old and thus capable of marriage. Their lawyer announces a legal battle: we will bring it to the Supreme Court.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) – There are slim hopes for the return home of the two Christian girls kidnapped by a group of Muslims on June 26 from Chowk Munda village in Punjab. According to the defence attorney, the situation is more complicated for the older of the two sisters, Saba Younas, who was forced to convert to Islam and marry a young Muslim the day after her kidnap.

    On August 6 the judge Malak Saeed Ejaz of Multan Bench of Lahore High Court ordered for the medical examination of Saba Younas to ascertain her age. The medical report concluded that the girl is 16 to 17 years old and had reached the puberty; despite the fact her Catholic birth certificate plainly states she is 13. “After the medical report the chances of Saba’s return are less” family lawyer Rashid Rehman says “because a 16 to 17 years old girl has reached puberty and ‘is able’ to get married’”. Rehman  noted another unfavourable factor was that on being questioned, the girl stated in the court that she is 17 years old and has ‘converted to Islam and got married on her own will’”.

    If hopes for the older sister are virtually non-existent, the battle to free the younger of the two, 10 year old Anila continues.  What’s more the return of Anila could convince Saba to changer her mind, on finding herself alone in a family she is no part of.  According to the girl’s uncle, Khalid Raheel, Sbaba was “pressured and threatened” into given false testimony and that he has documents proving that “she is only 13”.

    The family’s lawyers announce that the court hearings have ended; the sentence is set for Tuesday September 9th.  Until that moment both sisters must remain in the women’s shelter where there were brought at the beginning of August, under the judges orders.  “If there is no positive outcome – announces Rashid Rehman – we will appeal to Pakistan’s Supreme Court”.

     

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    See also

    28/03/2012 PAKISTAN
    Hindu girl tells Supreme Court she would rather die than convert to Islam
    Seized by an influential Muslim, with the "political cover" of an elected official, 19 year old Rinkel Kumari launches a desperate appeal to the courts. “Justice is denied Hindus in Pakistan” and therefore asks to" kill me here "in the courtroom. The family, after reporting to police, forced to leave the village in Sindh. Each year there are 300 forced marriages and conversions

    10/09/2008 PAKISTAN
    Christian girl, kidnapped and converted by Muslims, returned to family
    The alleged conversion has been found to be invalid, because the girl is just 10 years old. But her sister, who was also kidnapped, has been judged to have married by her own will, because she is "more than 16 years old", although her relatives say she is only 13, and that they will appeal to the supreme court.

    25/08/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Muslims kidnap 14 year old Christian to convert her to Islam
    Mehek Masih was taken from her home in broad daylight and under the threat of a gun. Muslim man intends to "purify her" making her "Muslim and my mistress." Archbishop Saldanha cases of this type are "frequent," the law does not protect minorities. One of the many "crosses" that Pakistani Christians have to endure.

    22/08/2007 PAKISTAN
    Two Christian girls of 11 and 16 kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry
    The police fails to intervene, while the families fall into the hands of unscrupulous go betweens.

    27/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Christian sisters kidnapped, forced to marry a wealthy Muslim
    The girl's father reported the kidnapping. In response, the police accused him of abusing alcohol and his daughters. Neighbour: the authorities overturned the facts, because they are colluding with criminals. Catholic priest killings and kidnappings of young Christian women common practice, encouraged by the mullahs and supported by the government.



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