Pakistan: abductor threatens parents of kidnapped Christian girl
“IF YOU DON’T STOP TRYING to find your daughter, we will accuse you of blasphemy.” That is the threat made by Abdul Jabbar to the parents of and the lawyer representing Huma Younas, the Christian girl Jabbar has abducted. Her case was brought to the notice of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) by her family’s lawyer, Tabassum Yousaf.
This is the most recent development in the dramatic story of the 14-year-old Christian girl who was abducted Oct. 10, 2019, in Karachi, Pakistan on October 10 this year. She was subsequently forcibly converted to Islam and forced to marry her Muslim abductor, Jabbar.
“It often happens that the abductors threaten to accuse their victim’s family of blasphemy,” said Yousaf; “it is a charge which in Pakistan can mean the death sentence.” In cases like Huma’s it is extremely difficult for the families of victims to obtain justice. “The Christian families involved are often poorly educated and do not know their own rights,” Yousaf explained.
She added: “And in any case they are too poor to be able to afford the legal expenses to bring such cases to court. The result is that the abductors have an easy time of it, often thanks to the complicity of the police themselves who, instead of encouraging the parents to pursue the case, actually help abductors by advising them about the legal loopholes they can make use of.”
Sadly, the lawyer said this is a critical situation that is faced every time a Christian girl—including minors, like Huma, is abducted, raped, forcibly ‘converted’ and forced to ‘marry’ her abductor.
Yousaf, has brought the case before the High Court in Sindh province, charging the perpetrator with a charge of abduction, forced conversion and forced marriage. Yet, despite the fact that girl’s family has presented their daughter’s birth certificate and baptismal certificate that clearly attest that Huma is just 14 years old, her abductor maintains that she is 18 years old and hence free to marry as she wishes.
It is vitally important that local politicians and media, who until now have remained silent—despite the interest shown by international media—get involved. To spark interest, Yousaf and Huma’s parents held a public demonstration outside the Press Club in Karachi. “If no one intervenes at the local level,” Yousaf explained, “there is a risk that Huma will not be able to return home.”
Tabassum Yousaf is a Pakistani Catholic lawyer who works closely with the Archdiocese of Karachi and the archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission. The commission is handling the legal defense of several families of abducted, raped and forcibly converted Christian teenagers. She collaborates regularly with ACN.