A court in Pakistan – which approximately 98% Muslim – is thwarting efforts by Christian parents to get their kidnapped daughter back.
International Christian Concern (ICC) Regional Manager William Stark says that in Pakistan, young girls being kidnapped is one of the chief problems faced by Christians and other religious minorities – who are greatly outnumbered in the second-largest Muslim nation in the world – only behind Indonesia.
“They are then forcefully married to one of their kidnappers, often raped and sexual violence is used as a weapon within this issue,” Stark explained. “And then they are forcibly converted to Islam – in order to help kind of seal the kidnapping and seal the crime in a way.”
Muslims above the law?
One of the more recent cases involves 14-year-old Younas, a Christian, who was kidnapped in Karachi and forced to marry her kidnapper. Her husband provided false papers that made her out to be 18.
Stark was recently in Pakistan and visited with the girl's parents, who filed a lawsuit in order to get their daughter back.
“Unfortunately, February 3 was the most recent hearing by this high court, and instead of finding with settled law – which is the settled law of Sindh, which is the province in which this happened [where] marriages of [youth] under 18 [are] illegal – they decided to supersede that with Sharia Law,” Stark recounted. “The marriage is legal under Islam.”
Her mother voiced her disdain for the oppressive and unjust Shariah law the treats non-Muslims as having less rights than those who ascribe to Islam.
"[The state has shown itself unable to treat Christians as Pakistan citizens," Younas’ mother contended, according to CBN News.
The parents have vowed to continue the fight and will take it to Pakistan's Supreme Court – if necessary – to obtain justice.