HRFP condemn kidnapping, forced conversion to Islam and marriage of teenage Christian girl

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Faisalabad: November 20, 2017. (PCP) Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) regrets to Government’s weak measures towards religious minorities after falling prey of another minority girl to kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage of Maryam Khalid aged 16. These very rooted elements of discrimination, violence and intimidation must be stopped said by Mr. Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan at Press Conference in presence of Maryam’s parents Khalid and Naheed. Mr. Naveed Walter shared that the regret came after an incident where a Christian girl Maryam Khalid was abducted first by Shahid and later forcibly converted and forcibly married to his friend Moazzam. Victimized girl belonged from the poor Christian family of district Faisalabad and her father is a laborer, mother is a domestic worker and the area where this family is living is a Muslim populated area that contains 500 Muslim houses while only 3 houses belong to the Christian Community. Parents of victim girl shared that the heartbreaking incident occurred with them on 19th August, 2017 when their daughter Maryam went out of her house to meet her friend while she was on her way, a Muslim landlord named Shahid Ashiq with one of his unknown friend forcibly took her to an unknown place. Mr. Naveed Walter lamented that after registration of FIR, no action is taken by police and authorities against both main culprits Shahid and Moazzam. He said further that the culture of impunity can never be justified by any means towards grave violations against the religious minorities. On behalf of civil society of Pakistan, he demanded an end to persecution against religious minorities particularly the kidnappings, forced conversions and forced marriages of young minority girls in Pakistan particularly of Christian girls in Punjab and Hindu girls in Sindh. Naveed Walter also stressed the “Strengthened Legal and Policy FrameWork” against religious minorities of Pakistan. He expressed sadly that forced religious conversion and forced marriage of minority girls is rapidly spreading plague of the current age. It is an inhuman and illegal act and the culprits should be arrested and the victim girl should be recovered as soon as possible. Naveed Walter shared that Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) is providing legal aid with advocacy, financial assistance and moral support for justice to victim & family and for safe return of Maryam Khalid to her home. He further said that Government Authorities should provide security to family of victim because they are facing life threats of abduction of other women and girls of their family if they don’t withdraw the case proceedings in District & Session Court, Faisalabad and in Lahore High Court, he added more.

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