A 14-year-old Christian girl kidnapped in Karachi
by Shafique Khokhar

The girl had complained about harassment and threats at work. The police decided to investigate only after media pressure. Fr Asher Liaqat pledges support to the family.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – Four men stormed the home of a Christian family and kidnapped 14-year-old Shama.

The incident took place on 24 June in the Ghaghar area but became public only when the media got a hold of it.

When the teenager's parents went to Steel Town Police Station to report the incident, the officers on duty refused to file the case.

Shama and her family moved to Ghaghar 10 years ago in an attempt to escape poverty.

Shama and her older sister Samina work at a pharmaceutical plant, but had repeatedly complained about harassment and threats from one of the security guards, Mohammad Ikhtiyar.

According to the girl's mother, Ikhtiyar and three other men with guns broke into their home late in the afternoon when most of the residents had already gone to the mosque to pray and the streets were deserted.

The girl’s father, Baboo Masih, told AsiaNews that it was only after addressing the media that the police decided to investigate the kidnapping.

Fr Asher Liaqat, director of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Karachi, visited the Masih family yesterday pledging support.

At present, the whereabouts of Shama her kidnappers are unknown. In Pakistan, having sex with a minor can result in the death penalty or imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Kashif Anthony, coordinator of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, told AsiaNews that he fears kidnappers could produce a conversion or marriage certificate to prove their innocence.

Such a practice often affects law enforcement in Pakistan and prevents Christians from having their daughters back.