11/11/2021, 13.32
PAKISTAN
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A 12-year-old Christian girl abducted by a Muslim in Sahiwal

by Shafique Khokhar

Mareeb Abbas went missing on 2 November and was in all likelihood taken to Balochistan. Her mother is hospitalised. The parish priest in Sahiwal calls for a law to “protect minorities”.

 

Sahiwal (AsiaNews) – Another Christian girl was abducted by a Muslim in Pakistan. Meerab Abbas, 12, was taken by Muhammad Daud, 10 years her senior and a native of the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

The girl lived in Sahiwal (Punjab) with her mother, Farzana, a 45-year-old widow who works as a domestic worker.

She disappeared on 2 November, in all likelihood taken to Balochistan to be forced to convert to Islam and marry Daud.

So far, police have arrested two suspects, but the girl remains in the hands of her abductors.

Cecil George, a relative of the mother, said that Farzana is suffering greatly from her daughter’s abduction to the point of requiring admission to a local hospital (see picture 2). Her mental state is critical.

George noted that no information has yet come as to where the kidnappers hid Mareeb.

Journalist Wilson Raza explains that these events are commonplace in the region, urging the police to do more to bring the young woman home to her mother.

Fr Zahid Augustine, pastor in Sahiwal, joined the appeal, explaining that Farzana “already has many challenges to face in her life".

"We call upon the government to consider these abductions and forced marriages as a grave issue and adopt strict laws to protect minorities, who are essential for the development of the country," he said.

“Mareeb is only 12 years old, and she cannot marry,” he added. “The perpetrators commit these crimes in the name of religion. We just want justice.”

Human rights activist Ashiknaz Khokhar notes that kidnapping underage girls from religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan.

"The government is not taking this issue seriously and parliament recently refused to pass the bill on forced conversion," Khokhar explained.

"Every year about 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam. There is a dire need for a dedicated law to protect minority girls.”

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