05/16/2019, 10.07
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Karachi, 15 year old Christian forced to convert and marry Muslim

by Shafique Khokhar

Neha had also resisted rape and beatings, but then succumbed when the torturers threatened to throw her little brother off the roof. The husband, already married before, wants her back home and has filed a complaint for insulting Islamic laws. The Church is helping the family.

Karachi (AsiaNews) - "If you do not get converted, we will throw your brother off the roof": This was the threat that forced the 15-year-old Christian Neha to convert to Islam after which she was married to a 45-year-old Muslim, already married and with three children. The young woman had resisted with all her strength, even after being violently raped and beaten. But the death threats against her two and a half year old brother broke her.

Later she managed to escape with the help of one of her husband's daughters. She returned to her family and now lives in fear. Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Saleh Diego, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, says: "We are certain that we will get justice. We ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to protect minorities in all these situations and bring peace to the country. "

Neha is the daughter of Parvaiz and Jamila Masih. She was born on 8 October 2003 and lives in the city of Itihad, near Karachi. Her story goes back to last April 28, when her aunt Sundas, her mother's half-sister, asked her parents to be able to take Neha with her for a few days, to get help her sick and hospitalized son at Jinnah Hospital. The family agreed because Sundas, who converted to Islam by marrying Muhammad Rehan a few years ago, was still a trusted relative.

Sundas, instead of taking Neha to the hospital, took her home with her younger brother. There waiting for them was Mohammad Imran and Azra, brother and sister of Rehan (husband of Sundas), who tortured the Christian girl and force her to marry Imran. She refused, was taken by Imran to a nearby room and raped; and still she refused. At that point the threat: "If you don't convert and you don't marry Imran, we will throw your brother off the roof." Eventually Neha agreed.

The next day the girl was taken to the Maulana (Islamic religious) where she embraced the Islamic faith, her name was changed to Fatima and the wedding was celebrated. Then the new husband took her home, where she was forced to satisfy her spouse's sexual desires for a week. Finally she managed to escape and returned to her parents. On hearing her story, they were shocked because they believed that their daughter was still in the hospital helping her sick cousin.

The family tried to register a complaint, but the police refused to hear their statement. Meanwhile, Imran's family has filed a counter-complaint accusing the girl's parents of wanting to hide the wife Fatima / Neha, which goes against Islamic law.

On May 13, police finally filed their complaint thanks to the support of activists and Church leaders. Rev. Gazala Shafiq, pastor of the Church of Pakistan [protestant], complains that "marriage for girls under 18 is punishable under the Penal Code. Neha is scared, she huddles in a corner and just repeats that if she is forced to go home, nobody will help her anymore. His heart is broken. We must be close to her and demand justice ".

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