Deaf and dumb Christian girl forcibly converted to Islam escapes from abductor

A deaf and dumb 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.

Muslim clerics claim Asma (Asma is her Christian name while her new Muslim name is Aysha), from Sialkot, Punjab, cannot live with her Christian parents because she converted to Islam.

According to her lawyer, Hafiz Ateeq Ur Rehman, she was kidnapped about four or five months ago by her neighbour Ghulam Hussain, who is very influential as he has strong relations with high-profile police officers, politicians and other powerful and influential people.

Her father Gulzar Masih always knew about the kidnappers, but being Christian and poor succumbed to the pressure and could not do anything.

But Asma has somehow escaped from Ghulam Hussain and re-joined her family.
However, Hussain is threatening her father to hand her back, claiming that since she is married to him and has converted to Islam, she cannot live with her Christian parents.

Gulzar Masih went to 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 DPO (District police officer) Sialkot, but still there is no result.

Some clerks are also threatening Gulzar, but Asma is not willing to go with Ghulam Hussain. Mr Rehman has filed a petition with Justice of Peace, an inquiry officer has been appointed and the court has asked for a report from the inquiry officer.

On 1st August the Inquiry officer called both parties, Ghulam Hussain presented one certificate from Madrasah 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 her father as Yousaf Bhatti – clearly a forged and self-made document.

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.

The police is 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, Director CLAAS-UK said the increase of forced conversion and kidnaping of Christian and other minorities’ girls is 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 happening and I see no end to innocent Christian and other minorities girls’ misery. Instead I am scared that it will worsen.

“Shamefully the police, who are supposed to follow the law, side with the kidnappers and also come under pressure of 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 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 honour, 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.

Minorities have no more faith in the government and are also losing faith in the courts too. There is a loathsome continuation of dual discrimination towards women, as females and 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.