ASIA/PAKISTAN - Another Christian student kidnapped: The number of cases is increasing in Punjab

Saturday, 27 February 2021 conversion   religious freedom   violence   women   christianity   kidnappings  

Gujranwala (Agenzia Fides) - The Pakistani police have registered a complaint about the kidnapping of another Christian student from Lahore in order to force her into an Islamic marriage. Mehwish Bibi, a student at the Women's College in the city of Gujranwala, left her home at 8.10 am on February 18, to go to college but she never returned home. The family suspects kidnappings with the aim of forced marriage. Patras Masih, the young woman's father, wrote down the following in the investigation report: "We looked for our daughter and started asking people about her. Two Christians, Masih and Akram Masih, informed us that they saw a Muslim, Muhammad Sabir, who with the help of two accomplices kidnapped her and pointed a gun at her. According to the witnesses, they forced my daughter into a white pickup truck. We ask the police to rescue my daughter as soon as possible. We demand justice and severe punishment for the perpetrators".
Khalid Shahzad, human rights and religious minorities activist comments to Fides: "It is sad that we have to take note of yet another episode of the kidnapping of a Christian girl. Cases of kidnapping of young women belonging to religious minorities are increasing in Punjab Province. It is tragic that no one tried to stop the kidnappers from kidnapping a Christian girl. Every day Christian families live in worry and fear that their daughters will be victims of kidnappings".
Christian communities have long urged the government to stop the phenomenon of the forcible kidnapping and conversion of Christian minors, complaining that impunity promotes such crimes. Impunity, they note, encourages such crimes. According to data confirmed to Agenzia Fides by the National Commission for "Justice and Peace" of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan, there are around 1,000 cases of kidnapping of young Christian and Hindu women who are abducted from their families for the purpose of marriage and forced conversion to Islam every year. (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/2/2021)