In the latest case, just 20 miles from the capital, Islamabad, a young Christian girl named Mariam Gill went out to the market and never came back. Witnesses saw a local man, an important local businessman, Muhammed Junaid, physically snatching her from the market. He had asked her to marry him and had been refused, so he took the woman he lusted after anyway, by force, and typically, cloaked his rape by claiming he had been a pious Muslim and converted her to Islam. Again, typically, the police prevaricated, refused the application of the distraught family, and treated the Christian family with disdain by showing no interest in the matter. A local police officer, Amir Mirza, praised the culprit as 'a respectable Muslim businessman' and claimed, against all evidence, that the girl had converted and married 'of her own free will'.
Again, typically, the local Muslim religious leader, Maulana Hafeez Aziz, praised the perpetrator of this wickedness as a 'pious Muslim' and a 'true follower of Muhammed' who has 'fulfilled Sharia', who had done an act that 'only a true Muslim could do'. He stated he had 'converted Mariam to Islam' and then 'celebrated' her 'marriage'.
The lies of both the religious and secular authorities became apparent when local officials questioned Mariam. She forthrightly stated that she had been abducted and forced to convert and would not renounce her faith in Christ. The officials ordered that the girl should be returned to her family and the two 'sides' should reach an 'agreement'. However, again typically, Muhammad Junaid showed his approach - he demanded the girl he had violated thrice over be returned to him for his pleasure and continued abuse, or there would be 'terrible consequences'.
Yet again, those who abuse Christian women (and indeed those of other minorities - Hindu girls are fleeing to India in increasing numbers to escape this cadre of sadistic rapists) indulge in a culture of impunity where these perpetrators of serious crimes are praised and lauded as model citizens and religionists while the victims and their families are threatened and intimidated.
The local bishop is quoted as saying 'the cases of forced conversion are rising at an alarming rate. The matter needs to be checked, kidnapping of Christian girls is becoming a common practice in Punjab. Law enforcement agencies need to enforce the law'
Amen to that.
He also says 'It is time to take concrete action to guarantee the safety of minorities in Pakistan'.
Amen to that too.
Thank you to the people at Asia News for bringing this to our attention.