Pakistani Christian woman abducted as she walked with her brother

A 24-year-old Pakistani Christian woman was abducted by four people as she walked with her 11-year-old brother.

Marriam Mushtaq was snatched by four unidentified suspects in on May 12 in Bahar Colony, Lahore.

For the past year she had been studying adult education at “Excel Educational Institution’’ and was on her way there with her brother Youhan at around 2pm when 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 while she was crossing the road.

As a result of that she lost both of her legs. The local boys 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 the police did not respond to them. Afterwards the family and local Christians staged protest in front of Nawaz Sharif’s residence in Model Town.

They blocked the road for two hours and only then did the police agree to register an FIR against the unknown abductors.

CLAAS team visited Marriam’s family and met her mother Musarat Mushtaq.

Her mother is depressed and upset as she has no news about her. The local people were gathered at their home to show sympathy and offer their support.

Musarat said that Marriam was interested in education. Her aunt Nagina Naz shared that she got married two years ago, but after one year the relationship ended up in divorce.

CLAAS’s team asked about the suspects, but the family said that they have no clue about the abductors.

Yohan said they had never had such issues before, and further shared that Marriam tried to escape from the abductors, but one of them put a piece of cloth on her mouth and later she was unconscious.

Two days after Musarat lodged the complain with the police, she received a phone call from officers who told her that her daughter had not been kidnapped, but was married. 

A man named Muhammed Ali, 32, who Marriam’s family claim is her kidnapper, attended the police station and presented a marriage certificate. 

However, her family say she would never voluntarily marry a Muslim, and say that she is being held against her will and has been forced into marriage.

Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS, said that unfortunately the abduction of Christian and Hindu girls continues to occur and is becoming very common.

“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.

“Because of the increase of such cases, Christian families are often scared to send their daughters alone to work, school or college.

“Such kidnapping and abdication not only effects the victims,  but their whole family, whose life gets put on hold.”

He added: “Although at this moment it is not clear who the abductors are, but if they are Muslim then it can be 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.

“CLAAS team in Pakistan is in touch with the family and has assured them of all the help and support they may need.”