Relaymedia

Pakistani Christian Girls Kidnapped, Converted and Forcibly Married

( [email protected] ) Sep 03, 2007 01:30 PM EDT

Two Christian girls who were kidnapped from their families in Faisalabad, Pakistan, were forcibly converted to Islam and later married off to strangers.

After kidnapping the girls, the Muslim men reportedly delivered forged marriage certificates to their families.

According to one of the certificates, 16 year-old Shamaila Tabassum was married 12 days before her disappearance. Her lawyer, however, has asserted that the dates mentioned in the marriage certificate are falsified as Tabassum was still at home at the time.

The other certificate distorts the age of Zunaira Rasheed as 18, while her actual age is 11.

Abida, Rasheed’s mother, after being informed of her daughter’s kidnapping readily paid 12,000 Pakistani Rupees ($200) to men who promised to help trace her daughter.

"Since my daughter was engaged, I didn’t want the police and relatives to know the matter,” she said. “Unfortunately, I found out too late that those men who offered help only wanted my money – which I got with great difficulty, selling all I have."

Because the police have reportedly been negligent and slow to act, the girls’ lawyer decided last week to file a case against the officers in Punjab city of Faisalabad.

Khalil Tahir, a well-known Christian lawyer and chairman of a free legal aid organization "Adal Trust," pointed that Christians in the country are unceasingly abused and tortured.

"Although we try to aid the victim's families, offering legal and practical help, the government must curb and stop the issue using," he said.

Muslims make up about 97 percent of Pakistan’s people, while Hindus make up 1.5 percent, and Christians 1.7 percent. According to U.S.-based International Christian Concern, Christian girls are frequently kidnapped, raped, molested, converted, and in some cases killed by Muslims. Although complaints have been registered with the police, they reportedly do not take effective action against the assailants.