Outcry over Pakistani court ruling on forced conversion of Christian girls

The head of CLAAS UK, Nasir Saeed, has condemned the ruling of a Pakistani court earlier this month upholding the alleged kidnapping and conversion of two pre-teen Christian sisters, and the forced marriage of the elder sister.

Saba Younis, aged 13, and her sister, Anila Younis, 10, were reportedly kidnapped on 26 June from Chak Sarwar Shaheed whilst on their way to their uncle’s house. Their abductors claimed that Saba voluntarily entered into the marriage and that both girls had agreed to convert to Islam.

Pakistan’s Christian community was left stunned when a district court judge in Muzaffargarh dismissed a petition by the parents to regain custody of their daughter on the grounds that the two sisters had “converted in a legitimate manner to Islam” and that Saba’s marriage was legitimate.

The abductors are believed to be part of a gang involved in abducting women and young girls for trafficking and prostitution. According to reports, the police refused to take any action against the culprits but have instead made threats against the family for making a complaint. The local Muslim councillor has also failed to take any action against the culprits.

Mr Saeed said that the abduction and forced conversion of Christian girls was becoming increasingly common in Pakistan as a result of discriminatory laws, growing religious hatred towards Christians, and fundamentalism in Pakistan, where Christians make up only two per cent of the population.

He said the latest court ruling was a “miscarriage of justice”.

“This case sheds light on the suffering of Christians who live in Pakistan as second class citizens,” he said. “What kind of justice is this? The international community should take this seriously.”   Read More..

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