A 15-year-old Roman Catholic girl kidnapped in Pakistan was rescued by authorities and returned to her family last week. She had been abducted by a 45-year-old Muslim neighbor on May 20 for the purpose of marriage and conversion to Islam. Police were slow to act initially, but the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan (NMAP) pressured them to work harder by staging daily sit-ins from 7 p.m. all the way until midnight. Church leaders and activists demanded her return, and on May 31 the family of the accused finally gave her up to the police.
The traumatized young girl showed incredible bravery last week on June 6 by appearing in court to tell the story of her ordeal. Remembering her despicable treatment, she recounted, “He raped me for two days. I kept crying and pleaded with him to let me talk to my parents, but he did not listen. After two days, the accused left me alone in the place where he was keeping me hostage.” The neighbor charged with these crimes was due in court on June 4, but he did not appear. As a result, his pre-arrest bail was canceled, and the police are making raids for his arrest.
Tragically, the only thing unique about this young girl’s case is her rescue. Kidnapping for the purpose of forced marriage and conversion to Islam is all too common in Pakistan, and authorities rarely take the necessary steps to achieve any justice. Just two weeks ago on June 2, a court hearing showed that police had made no progress in rescuing a 16-year-old Christian girl kidnapped in the same city in Pakistan where this incident took place. We fervently pray for the rescue of those abducted in Pakistan and for healing for those few who have already been recovered.