Two men over 40 abduct 15-year-old Christian girl in Faisalabad
by Shafique Khokhar

The girl, who was on her way to work as a domestic, was shoved into an autorickshaw by two men. It is feared that, like in similar cases, her kidnappers will present a certificate of conversion to Islam in order to register a marriage. For Human rights activist Lala Robin Daniel, “We will stage a sit-in in Faisalabad and stay with the victims’ families until the courts take concrete action against the culprits”.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Once again a Pakistani Christian girl was the victim of a sexually-motivated abduction by well-known people.

On 20 May, Saba, 15, and her sister Muqaddas were going to Madina Town, a neighbourhood in Faisalabad (Punjab), where both are employed as domestic workers.

Around 9 am, two men in their 40s, Muhammad Yasir and Muhammad Riaz, along with others, stopped the two sisters. After pushing Muqaddas away, they seized Saba and threw her into an auto-rickshaw, and took her with them.

According to her mother, Rubina Nadeem, Saba was kidnapped for “adultery” and is being held captive at an unknown location.

Two eyewitnesses, Tariq Iqbal and Amir Daniel, saw the girl’s kidnapping while crossing the street on their way to work.

Saba’s mother filed a complaint at the Madina Town police station citing Article 365-B of the Pakistani Penal Code, which reads:

“[W]hoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced, or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, and shall also he liable to fine”.

Police are looking for the kidnappers but have not yet been able to track down the girl since the day she was taken.

According to human rights activist Simon Aleem, Saba is an innocent girl, the victim of an injustice that unfortunately happens far too often.

Many Christian girls and young women have been the victims of abduction; when this happens, kidnappers surface a few days later with the girl and her conversion certificate. When asked, she claims to have accepted Islam voluntarily and then marries her kidnapper.

For Aleem, “The government must take immediate action against Saba Nadeem’s kidnappers.” More importantly, he wonders, “How is it possible that an underage girl, kidnapped in front of people, accepts her Islam of her own free will and then marries the same person who kidnapped her?

“In Saba's case, both kidnappers are over 45. The same thing is happening to other Christian girls: How do our underage girls fall in love with older men?” he adds.

Lala Robin Daniel, another human rights activist from Faisalabad, goes further. “Whenever there is a problem with the government or rich politicians, the courts are opened even at night, only to give justice to the rich. Why can't these courts remain open to give justice to poor minority families?”

In light of the latest incident, “We will stage a sit-in in Faisalabad and stay with the victims’ families until the courts take concrete action against the culprits and bring back the abducted girls. The time has come to raise our voices collectively against such crimes against minorities.”