Plight of Pakistan’s Minorities: Forced Conversions and Child Marriages Rampant

NationalPlight of Pakistan's Minorities: Forced Conversions and Child Marriages Rampant

MULTAN, Pakistan: Roshani Shakeel, 13 years old a Christian girl, was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to her abductor, Muazzam Mazher in Basti Khaliq Pura, Multan.

According to Nazia Shakeel, Roshani’s mother, the horrifying ordeal unfolded when she went to a supermarket near her home in Basti Khaliq Pura, Multan. Upon returning home her daughter was missing. She began searching for Roshani, enquiring in the neighborhood and scouring the streets for any sign of her.

   

Eyewitnesses reported that Muazzam Mazher, accompanied by a group of individuals, arrived on a motorcycle and a Suzuki Bolan, forcibly took Roshani from her home to an unknown location.

The family promptly reported the abduction to the police authorities, filing FIR no 782/24 at the Sital Mari Police Station in Multan against the abductor.

Shakeel Masih, Roshani’s father, revealed that the motive behind the abduction was the family’s refusal to marry their daughter to a Muslim man. “You have a beautiful daughter, and we will convert her to Islam,” the abductor allegedly declared, intimidating the family into compliance. Despite their refusal, Roshani was taken forcibly.

On March 15, after two days of her missing Muhmmad Bilal Hateem a Muslim from the area sent the marriage certificate to Roshani’s parents saying that she has been converted to Isalm and married off with Muazzan and now you can not do anything.

Despite that Roshani 13 years old was an Islamic Imam Zahoor who converted Roshani to Islam, registered her marriage with her abductor wrote on he marriage certificate that Roshani 18 years old is and give her a new Islamic name Zehra Bibi.

“I am afraid that Muazzam, the abductor of my daughter, will sexually abuse and sell her for further exploitation,” Shakeel stated, highlighting the dire circumstances faced by his family”.

Joseph Jansen with Jubilee Campaign the Netherlands said

In their desperate quest for justice, Shakeel Masih even sold household items, including their bed, sofa, mobile phone, and bike, to fund their efforts to locate their daughter.

However, their appeals for help have been met with apathy and discrimination. “Police are not taking any action as they have been bribed by the abductor,” Shakeel lamented, highlighting the systemic challenges faced by minority communities in seeking justice.

Furthermore, community members have been reluctant to assist, when it comes to conversion to Islam and relevant authuries play the roles of as a facilitater of conversion to Islam and ignoring the fact of a minor being married.

Nadia Stephen, a women’s rights activist, finds it deeply disturbing to witness the persistence of heinous acts against young girls in our society. The abduction, trafficking, and forced marriage of Christian and Hindu girls as young as 13, followed by coercion into converting to Islam, are utterly reprehensible.

These egregious violations of human rights not only inflict immeasurable harm on the victims but also underscore the urgent need for robust legal protections and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of gender or age.

It is particularly distressing to note the involvement of religious authorities, as well as the complicity of security forces and the justice system, in facilitating these atrocities. Such actions blatantly disregard national and international human rights laws, which unequivocally prohibit such coercive practices.

Joseph Jansen highlighted that despite the legal framework provided by the Child Marriage Restraint Act and several court precedents establishing the marriage age at 18 years for both men and women, certain officers with Islamic mindsets and administrative shortcomings lack the will to enforce these laws. This reluctance has emboldened perpetrators to continue their heinous crimes under the guise of Islamic marriage and conversion.

The manipulation of the law and justice system by perpetrators further exacerbates the problem. Without legislation specifically addressing forced faith conversions and adequate enforcement of existing domestic laws, these harmful practices persist.

Therefore, it is imperative for the government to enact laws criminalizing forced faith conversions and ensure the strict enforcement of existing legislation. Individuals involved in facilitating forced faith conversions and child marriages must be brought to justice to curb these egregious violations of human rights.

The family appeals to the authorities and the wider community to prioritize Roshani’s safe return and ensure that justice prevails.

Mati
Mati
Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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