Going from bad to worse: During April-May, 18 Christian girls kidnapped and forcefully converted in Punjab

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A recent survey conducted by an NGO, 18 Christian girls have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam only in Punjab province in the April and May, 2016. The study found that these Christian girls were taken away on gunpoint and were either given in marriage to their Muslim abductors or else were given as sex slaves to influential Muslim men during the cited period .i.e. months of April-May 2016.

Gender based violence against Pakistani Christians

The gloomy report for Pakistani Christians stated that charge sheets were not brought against the abductors in any one of the case after the abductors presented the Christian abductees’ certificates of conversion to Islam. They also produced the Christian girls’ marriage certificates with Muslims either with the abductors or other men. On the other hand, the families of the Christian girls did file police complaints and FIRs were registered.

Also Read: A Christian girl abducted from Lahore, forcefully given in marriage to her Muslim abductor

In none of the cases, the parents or family members of the Christian abductees were ever allowed to meet their daughters, they were just informed that their daughters have married Muslim men after converting to Islam.

The report states, four Christian women among these 18 Christians kidnapped and converted to Islam were already married to Christian husband and had children. These four Christian women were married in accordance with the Christian Marriage Act of Pakistan as provided in the Constitution of Pakistan. What is more, these Christian women were never even allowed to meet their children.

In line with the ruling of the Lahore High Court, “Christian marriage do not dissolve on conversion to Islam or any religion.”

During the court trials of the cases filed by the Christian husbands of these four Christian women, they were not allowed to come face to face to their Christian husbands or children. The NGO stated in its report that there has been a sharp rise in cases of abduction of Christian girls, and their forced conversions and forced marriages with Muslim men after a Fatwa issued by Islamic clerics on electronic media. The report detailed the fatwa declared “Islam permits Muslim man to keep non-Muslim women as mistresses and perform sex with them without marriage while he is married to Muslim woman.”

In contrast to the Christian marriage Act under which the Christian marriage stands in effect even after conversion to Islam, there are claims that after conversion to Islam, the previous marriage becomes invalid and the kidnappers misuse this fatwa while the police fervently drops charges of kidnapping filed by the Christian families. On the other hand, Hindu girls are being kidnapped and forcefully given in marriage to Muslims in Sindh.