A 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was forced to convert after being abducted; finally recovered from the custody of the abductor. Details emerged that charity organization CLAAS has made this formidable task possible.
The victim Sumbal, was purportedly held in custody by a police official, Assistant Sub Inspector Munir Ahmed. ASI Munir of City Police Station Hafiz Abad had kept Sumbal in illegal detention since past six months. Elizabeth, mother of Sumbal approached CLAAS and besought legal assistance.
Consequently, M.A.Joseph National Director of CLAAS-PK started pursuing Sumbal’s recovery. On April 26, Wednesday, CLAAS lawyer Advocate Tahir Bashir moved Lahore High Court seeking recovery of Sumbal. In this regard a Habeas Corpus Petition was submitted on behalf of Christian victim. The court appointed a bailiff; assigned with the task of producing the girl before the court next day. On April 27, Sumbal was recovered from the house of Munir Ahmed.
Victim Sumbal was friends with her neighbor Mariam sister-in-law of Munir Ahmed. For this reason they both visited each other’s house. It was detailed that Sumbal had a quarrel with her sister-in-law after which she went to Mariam’s house and spent the whole day.
In the evening Elizabeth brought Sumbal back, but later that night Munir Ahmed came to Sumbal’s house and took her away forcibly. He beat Sumbal’s mother and brothers who tried to stop him from taking her away. Elizabeth submitted a complaint against Munir Ahmed in the City Police Station Hafiz Abad. Despite several efforts, Munir did not allow Elizabeth to meet her daughter.
Victim’s mother approached Father Mushtaq Payara, and told him about the incident. Father Mushtaq telephoned the head of the City Police Station, and requested him to resolve the matter. Consequently, both families were summoned to the police station. They were directed to produce Sumbal, who was scare to give statement before the police.
Munir Ahmed stated before the police official that the girl had embraced Islam and did not want to go her home. He claimed that Sumbal did not want to return with her mother instead she desires to stay at his house. He stated that after conversion, Sumbal’s new name was Fatima.
In this regard, National Director of CLAAS-UK Nasir Saeed said: “Most of the time girls are threatened for their and their families lives if they return. While according to domestic and international laws underage girls’ statements cannot be accepted.
Abduction and forced conversion of Christians and other minority girls is now a well-known issue and it continues to rise in Pakistan. CLAAS not only helps several families and girls but has been campaigning for the last several years to stop their ongoing misery.
He went on to explain: “CLAAS has raised this matter at the international level as well as with the Pakistani government on several times, but the government has failed to bring any legislation to stop forced conversion. Last year, the Sindh provincial assembly had passed a law criminalizing forced conversion. Sadly, the bill was rejected by the late governor, Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, following protests by various Islamic groups.”