A Christian family forced to give their abducted daughter back to her abductor

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Gender based violence

A Christian family was forced to return their daughter back to a Muslim landlord who had forcefully married her after abduction.

A 30-year-old, Christian woman Fouzia, who was already married and mother of three was abducted by a Muslim landlord M. Nazir in July 2015. The victim and her family are residents of Pattoki, and are bonded labours at a kiln of M. Nazir. After abduction, the landlord claimed that the Christian woman had accepted Islam and had married him.

Soon after she went missing, her brother Paaris made a hectic search for her. He also went to Nazir’ place and was told by Nazir that Fouzia was now married to him and therefore is his property. Unlike most of the abducted Christian victims of the forced marriages and conversion cases, the woman somehow succeeded to escape the captivity after few months and managed to reach her house.

It was not hard for the landlord to get a wind of the fact that Fouzia had arrived at her house and was living with her Christian family. Consequently, Nazir started pressurizing the Christian family to return Fouzia back to him, as he claims she was now his property. When the Christian family showed unwillingness to hand her back to him, he started threatening to kill all the family members.

Moreover, Nazir had also lodged a police complaint against the Christian family. Police started harassing and threatening the tattered Christian family to return Fouzia to Nazir if not then either Fouzia’ brother or sister would be hooked. If police had arrested her brother it was a possibility that he would have been either killed or severely tortured or if her sister was hooked she would have been handed over to Nazir as a consolation.

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As the situation continued to exacerbate, a Christian charity British Pakistani Christians’ Association (BPCA) jumped into the case to assist the battered Christian family. BPCA also filed asylum inquiries with the British Embassy and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees entreating for asylum visas for Fouzia, her brother and sister. The asylum requests were turned down by the British High Commission in Pakistan, while the U.N. High Commission for Refugees did not respond to the inquiry.

“This family has gone through a torturous decision making process. They have not wanted to deliver their daughter back but the threats on their family were so extreme, including potential blasphemy law allegations and kidnap charges against Paris the brother of Fouzia, that they felt there was no other way out,” BPCA President said.

“If the family kept her away from the abductor it could have resulted in the arrest of our team and the elderly parents who could not face moving away from their stable home. They were worried about the capture and murder of Paris and other relatives that were threatened and the whole family made the drastic decision to return Fouzia,” he told.