London: Pakistani Christian Sneha, 14, of Bahar Colony, Lahore, who was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to her kidnapper Zeeshan, has been recovered and reunited with her family.
Sneha is the youngest daughter of Sabir Masih and has two sisters and one older brother. She was a student of 9th Standard in Franciscan Girls High School, Bahr colony Lahore, but in the evening, she also attended a local academy for tuition to prepare for her final exams.
Sneha said in her statement that Zeeshan, a Muslim, used to tease her every day on her way back home from the academy and had persistently pressured her for friendship. Sneha constantly declined his request for friendship and told him that was not possible as she had to focus on her education and that they were of different religions, but Zeeshan didn’t stop trying.
On the evening of 14, January 2020, while Sneha was returning home from the academy Zeeshan forced her into the streets behind the academy, she refused but Zeeshan became violent and pushed her. Sneha said that because she was alone, she was scared and he started pushing her. There was a vehicle parked in the street he forcibly pushed her into it, and all of a sudden six more boys got into the vehicle and started beating her.
They took her to an unknown place, where more men arrived and started beating her and constantly raping her.
Sneha begged them to let her go home but they refused and one day they asked her to sign a few blank papers, when she refused, and then they started torturing her. Later she learned that these documents included a marriage certificate and religion conversion certificate.
They told Sneha that if she told her family and gave their names then she would have to face severe consequences, and they would do the same to her sisters.
Sneha’s father, Sabir Masih, reported her missing to police. The FIR (first information police report) was registered in Liaqatabad, Lahore police station and Session Court issued the orders to the Police to recover Sneha as soon as possible. After a few days Police recovered Sneha on 19 January 2020 and handed back to her parents, but the police are favouring the kidnappers, as usual.
Our partner in Pakistan are supporting Sneha’s family and providing free legal aid to them. They said that they have applied to the court for Sneha’s statement and have asked for her medical tests.
Sabir Masih and his family are receiving threats from the kidnappers who are pressuring the family not to proceed further and withdraw the case against them. Now the family has been moved to an unknown place.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK said cases of Christian and Hindu girls’ kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage to their kidnappers in order to cover the crime are continuing to rise.
Even recently The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has termed forced conversion un-Islamic. Last July Prime Minister Imran Khan had termed the practice of forced conversions as "un-Islamic" and said there was no precedent in Islamic history for forcefully converting others. Christian and Hindu MPs like Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Naveed Amir Jeeva have raised this matter in the Parliament several times but there has been no further progress.
Mr Saeed said: “CLAAS and several other organisations have been reporting such cases regularly for the last several years in the national and international media, but unfortunately the Pakistani government has failed to take action to stop the forced conversion of underage Christian, Hindu and other minority girls.
He called on the international community and human rights organisations to play their role to end ongoing forced conversion in Pakistan.