Pakistan: Parents of kidnapped, forcibly converted Catholic teenager look to highest court for relief
NO PROGRESS has been made in the case of Huma Younus, the 14-year-old Catholic girl who was abducted Oct. 10, 2019 in Karachi, Pakistan, then raped, forcibly converted to Islam and forced to marry her abductor.
As reported to Aid to the Church (ACN) by Tabassum Yousaf, the lawyer representing the parents of Huma, another hearing was held March 19 at the High Court of Sindh Province. Once again on this occasion, the girl was not brought to court as requested by the judges.
However, the outcome of a long-awaited medical examination to attest the actual age of Huma was made public. Despite the fact that, right from the outset, the parents have produced both the birth certificate and the baptismal certificate of their daughter—which clearly state the date of her birth as May 22 2005—her Muslim abductor, Abdul Jabbar, has continued to insist that the girl is an adult. After repeated failures, attributed by the police to the impossibility of making contact with the girl in order to conduct the medical examination, the result was finally announced: according to the examination of her bones, the doctors stated that Huma was 17 years old.
“This confirms what we have always believed,” the girl’s mother, Nagheeno Younus told ACN. “The judges are taking their time, waiting for her to turn 18, so that they can then close the case. By declaring that my little girl is 17, it will be enough for them to wait a few months and then abandon her to her fate.”
Moreover, there are serious doubts about the integrity of the local police, who were charged with supervising the outcome of the medical examination. On a number of occasions, members police officers have acted in the interests of her abductor Abdul Jabbar, who has even forced Huma to bring a charge against her own parents in which she allegedly asserts that she is afraid that her members of her own family might kill her.
The Italian office of ACN is supporting Huma’ family during the legal process. “Sadly, though, it has gone the way we feared,” said the director of ACN Italy, Alessandro Monteduro; “the first two levels of the judiciary have not given justice to Huma. But we are not giving up, and, together with her lawyer Yousaf, we are going to take the case to the country’s Supreme Court. This was the court which finally set Asia Bibi free, though her release does not seem to have have brought about any change for the better for the religious minorities in Pakistan.“