By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS- May 15, 2016) — A 24-year-old Pakistani Christian woman was abducted by four people as she walked with her 11-year-old brother.
According to a news release from the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), Marriam Mushtaq was snatched by four unidentified suspects on May 12 in Bahar Colony, Lahore.
For the last year she had been studying adult education at the Excel Educational Institution, and was on her way there with her brother Youhan at about 2 p.m., when a white car pulled up next to them.
A man with his face came covered got out and dragged Marriam inside the car before it sped off.
Youhan started shouting and called out for help. A few people gathered around, and boys on motorbikes started following the car. They followed the car, but it was too fast and even hit a young girl crossing the road.
The youngsters followed the car until Muslim Town (another town in Lahore), and then the car vanished.
Marriam’s family visited the local police station to register a complaint, but CLAAS said the police did not respond to them. Afterwards the family and local Christians held a protest.
They blocked the road for two hours, and finally the police agreed to file a report about the abduction.
CLAAS said staff members met with Marriam’s mother, Musarat Mushtaq.
Her mother was depressed and upset. Area residents gathered at the family home to show sympathy and support.
Her aunt Nagina Naz told CLAAS that Marriam got married two years ago, but after one year the relationship ended in divorce.
The CLAAS team asked about the suspects, but the family said they have no clue about the abductors.
Yohan said they had never encountered a situation like this previously. He added that Marriam unsuccessfully tried to escape from the kidnappers, but appeared unconscious after having a cloth placed over her mouth.
Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS, said that unfortunately the abduction of Christian and Hindu girls is becoming increasingly common.
He said, “The government is aware of the situation but sadly not willing to look into the issue or to take necessary measures to stop this ongoing abduction, forced conversion and even forcible marriage by the Muslims.”
CLAAS said he added that because of the increased abductions, Christian families are often scared to send their daughters alone to work, school or college.
Saeed said that kidnappings and abductions affect not only the victims, but also entire families, whose lives get placed on hold.
Saeed said that although it is still uncertain who the abductors are, “If they are Muslim then it can be an even more difficult situation for the family. We have seen in the past that once a Christian girl is abducted, she is forcibly converted to Islam and even married to her abductor, leaving the police and courts to pretend they are helpless.”
Saeed said that the CLAAS team in Pakistan is in touch with the family and has assured them of all the help and support they need.
CLAAS is an interdenominational organization working for Christians in Pakistan who are persecuted because of their faith.
For more information visit www.claas.org.uk
Photo captions: 1) Family of the abducted Pakistani Christian women. 2) Illustration of the abduction. (Pakistan Christian Congress). Elma and Jeremy Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter (www.joyjunction.org). He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information please contact Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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