Pakistani police ordered to probe kidnap of Christian woman

February 22, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistani police ordered to probe kidnap of Christian womanPattoki, February 21, 2016: Pakistani police were given a court order on Feb. 18 to investigate the kidnapping and forced conversion of a young Christian woman, the victim’s lawyer said.

“After four months of inquiry, the court has accepted our plea,” Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian lawyer and rights activist told ucanews. The hearing was held at a lower court in the town of Pattoki, Punjab province.

Gill filed a writ petition on behalf of 22-year-old Nabila Bibi’s family last October after police refused to lodge a complaint against her kidnappers.

Four armed men abducted Bibi when she was in the company of her mother and sister in Pattoki last September.

The men later told police that Bibi had converted to Islam and married one of the kidnappers on her own will.

Bibi’s father Bashir Masih said that his daughter was threatened with death and forcibly converted. The threat of death continues, he said.

“My daughter has been told that if she renounces Islam and reconverts to Christianity, she will be declared a murtad (apostate), an act which deserves nothing but death,” Masih told ucannews.com.

After police refused to lodge the complaint against the kidnappers the family approached the courts.

“In most such cases, kidnappers use conversion as legal cover to escape punishment for kidnapping and raping the victims,” said Gill.

“Even if the girl is returned to her family, her life stands ruined,” he said.

“Yesterday when I argued my case and raised the main issue of forced conversion, there was a lot of tension in the court room,” he added.

Forced conversion has emerged as a major issue for Christian and Hindu communities in Pakistan.

Around 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam in the south Asian country every year, said a June report by the Aurat Foundation.

– ucan

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