Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – Recently light was shed on yet another case of women abducted from their families, forced to convert to Islam and to marry Muslim men: Fides was informed of the case by lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian, upholder of human rights and head of LEAD Legal Evangelical Association Development an NGO in Pakistan. One of the two women attended school, the other is illiterate of humble social background. “These cases are difficult” lawyer Gill tells Fides. “I asked a few Muslim preachers their opinion on forced marriages. They affirmed with conviction that acts of forced conversion and forced marriage are illicit and illegal, not only according to civil law but also according to Islamic law”.
Gill tells Fides about one of the two recently discovered cases: a Christian girl Sairish, forced to marry a Muslim in 2009, in her heart never abandoned the faith and continued to pray to Jesus Christ even after her marriage. After a few years she found the courage to rebel against the situation and run away. The women went to lawyer Gill for legal assistance and safety. Her life is now in danger because if she declares herself Christian, Muslims may accuse her of apostasy and the punishment would be death.
LEAD is working to sensitise public opinion on the issue, to bring to attention the question of forced conversions and marriages in Pakistan, especially among women belonging to Christian and Hindu minorities. According to information collected by Fides, every year in Pakistan some 1,000 women are forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. It also happens that if a case of this nature ever reaches the law courts very often these women, under threat and blackmail, declare their conversion and marriage were freely made decisions and the case is closed. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 5/9/2014)