By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
SIALKOT, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN (ANS – August 3, 2016) — A deaf mute Pakistani Christian girl who managed to escape from an abductor who forcibly converted her to Islam, is being threatened with death if she does not return to him.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has told the ASSIST News Service that Muslim clerics claim that Asma — Asma is her Christian name, while her new Muslim name is Aysha — from Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan, cannot live with her Christian parents because she had “converted to Islam.”
“According to her lawyer, Hafiz Ateeq Ur Rehman, she was kidnapped about four or five months ago by her neighbor, Ghulam Hussain, who is very influential as he has strong relations with high-profile police officers, politicians and other powerful and influential people,” said Nasir Saeed.
“Her father, Gulzar Masih, always knew about the kidnappers, but being a Christian and poor, he succumbed to the pressure and could not do anything.”
“But Asma has somehow escaped from Ghulam Hussain and re-joined her family.”
Nasir Saeed claims that Hussain is threatening her father and asking him to hand her back, claiming that since she is married to him and has converted to Islam, she cannot live with her Christian parents.
He added that Gulzar Masih went to a local police station, but instead of listening to his grievance, the police officer also pressured him to send his daughter back. To further intimidate the family, the police arrested Gulzar’s son in law, but later on released him.
Ultimately, Gulzar Masih contacted advocate, Hafiz Ateeq Ur Rehman, for help, and has now submitted an application to the DPO (District Police Officer) in Sialkot, but still there is no result.
“Some clerks are also threatening Gulzar, but Asma is not willing to go with Ghulam Hussain,” said Nasir Saeed. “Mr. Rehman has filed a petition with the Justice of the Peace, and an Inquiry Officer has been appointed and the court has asked for a report from him.
“On August 1st, the Inquiry Officer called both parties together, and Ghulam Hussain presented one certificate from a local Madrasah [Islamic School] of Asma’s conversion written with her new name. He also presented a marriage certificate, which showed the name of the girl as Aysha, but listed her her father as Yousaf Bhatti, which showed that it was clearly a forged and self-made document.”
He said that now the situation has become “very dangerous” and Asma and her family are facing “severe threats” from Muslim clerks because they believe Asma was converted to Islam and has reconverted to Christianity and has therefore become apostate and is liable to be killed.
“Nobody is questioning her abductee, who is campaigning against Asma and her family and has endangered their lives,” said Nasir Saeed.
“The police are also siding with Ghulam Hussain because of pressure from Muslim clerks. Gulzar Masih is so scared that he has sent his daughter to some unknown place. Local police are urging him to bring Asma back, while clerks are ready to kill her.”
Nasir Saeed said that the increase of forced conversions and kidnapings of Christian and other minorities’ girls is because of the government’s failure.
“Since the government has failed to investigate Muslim clerks who are suspected of being involved in forced conversion and the issuing false certificates of conversion and marriages, such crimes will continue to occur and I see no end to innocent Christian and other minorities girls’ misery. Instead I am afraid that it will worsen.
“Shamefully, the police, who are supposed to follow the law, often side with the kidnappers, and also come under pressure from the local Muslim clerks, instead of registering cases against them and the perpetrators.
“This attitude and government’s insensitivities have emboldened the criminals and they now commit such crimes without any fear.”
Many Hindus and Christians have already started migrating to India and other countries because Pakistan’s laws have failed to protect them and they feel their honor, life and property, are all at risk.
“Forcible conversion to Islam in Pakistan is an open reality there are several reports, according to which, every year at least 700 Christians and 300 Hindu girls are kidnapped. But despite that the government has failed to take appropriate steps to stop this ongoing forced conversion,” said Nasir Saeed.
“Minorities have no more faith in the government and are also losing faith in the Pakistan courts, too. There is an especially loathsome continuation of dual discrimination towards women — as females and also as members of minority communities.
“It is a serious issue of survival for minorities in Pakistan and the international community must pay attention to stop the continuous violation of the fundamental and human rights of minorities.”
About CLAAS: Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organization working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an international level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.
Photo captions: 1) Deaf mute girl with her family. 2) Dan Wooding reporting from Seoul, South Korea, for a TV station.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books, and has reported from all over the world for ANS, and his most recent overseas trip was to Kurdistan, Northern Iraq.
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