Religious minorities in Pakistan are facing a real and constant threat of extinction as they are being forced to convert to Islam.

In the latest reported incident, a 13-year-old girl born in a Christian family was abducted and converted to Islam. She was then forced to get married to her kidnapper, according to the girl’s father.

The incident happened last month in Gujranwala city of Pakistan. The teen girl’s father, Shahid Gill continues to seek justice for his family. 

Gill, who is a tailor by profession, said that his neighbor, the alleged kidnapper, had offered to hire the victim as a salesgirl at his cosmetic store. The father said that he initially refused the offer saying his daughter was still a child. 

However, the neighbor, who is a Muslim, kept insisting and frequently asked for help with his business. Succumbing to the family’s financial pressure the father decided to send the girl for the job.

Gill said that on May 20, he failed to locate the girl and went looking for her. When he asked his neighbors they told him that they had seen the girl getting into a pickup truck with the kidnapper and some other men and women.

He then filed a kidnapping complaint at the Ferozabad police station and a case was registered against the neighbor and seven other persons on May 29.

Two of the suspects were taken into custody, Investigating Officer SI Liaqat said. However, the girl later appeared at a local court and recorded a statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) saying that she had left the home at her own will to convert to Islam and get married to her alleged kidnapper.

The court heard the child and passed a surprising judgment allowing her to go with her purported husband. The court also ordered the police to close the case which they obediently followed.

Gill made an appeal reminding the court that her daughter was just 13-years-old and that her statement of willful conversion and marriage should not be accepted.

In the complaint, the father said that the child was forcefully abducted and married to the kidnapper and that they had threatened her to make the statements in their favor. Gill said that the man was already married and had four children, including three daughters and a son.

He told the court that the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 states that a marriage of a "child" cannot be considered legal if the male is below 18 years of age and the female is below 16 years of age.

However, the court quashed the appeal and proceeded with its initial judgment. Gill still continues to legally fight for his daughter.

Kidnap Representation image. Pixabay