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A friend who is working with missions in Asia told me the other day about a Pakistani Christian girl, Samariya Nadeem, from Punjab in Pakistan, who was abducted by a Muslim landowner and forced to marry him after conversion to Islam. There is a petition directed to the Chief Minister of Punjab that asks him to free Samariya and make sure that freedom of religion and the freedom to marry volontarily is protected in Pakistan.
So far, police have failed to pursue any legal action against the local wealthy Muslim landowner who abducted the girl because of the influence he wields. Police investigators were also unable to talk to the bruised and terrified victim. Anonymous police sources confirmed that the girl was “abducted” and forced to marry. However, an Islamic cleric involved in the affair said that it was “not illegal to abduct and convert non-Muslims”.
Civil society groups and human rights activists have appealed to Punjab’s chief minister to take action and return Samariya to her parents and bring her abductor to justice. Kidnappings and forced marriages are a major issue in Pakistan, especially in Southern Punjab and in the interior of Sindh province. It is common in the region that young, religious minority, women and girls are forcefully converted and married away to influential landlords who keep them as slaves.
Two earthquakes with the magnitude of 7.7 and 7.2 have hit the very poor districts of Awaran and Turbat in the Balochistan province, Pakistan. At least 375 people have died and 185 000 have been affected. Thousands are homeless and in need of immediate humanitarian relief.
Unfortunately, not many aid organizations are working in the area. It is a forgotten disaster. The only Christian NGO I could find was Christian Aid who cooperate with Muslim Hands to bring aid to the Balochistan victims. But then, we also have the grace of more relational international contact. (more…)