Father of kidnapped girl shot for protecting his daughter
The father of deaf and dumb Christian girl, Asima, who was kidnaped and forcibly converted to Islam and married to Ghulam Hussain was admitted to hospital after been shot at and left in critical condition.
Asima was kidnapped about four or five months ago by her neighbour Hussain, but despite knowing her abductor her father failed to register the case against her daughter’s kidnappers.
Asima’s father Gulzar Masih made all of his efforts but, instead the police have been persuading him to return his daughter to her kidnapper but she refused to go with him.
As a result Hussain had been threatening Asima and Gulzar with death if she does not return to him.
Ghulam Hussain is very influential as he has strong relations with high-profile police officers, politicians and other powerful and influential people, therefore despite a court order issued on the 24th to the police to register a case against him, the police is still hesitating.
Although the court has allowed Asima to stay with her Christian parents, unfortunately Muslim clerics and police are still siding with Hussain and building pressure on the family, telling them that since Asima has embraced Islam therefore she cannot live with her Christian parents.
However, there is no such law in the country that if any member of a family converts to Islam or any other religion, they cannot live with her/his family. In such cases where a girl has been kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, such claims are ludicrous.
Now the situation has become very precarious as the father Gulzar was shot for protecting his daughter and admitted to hospital in critical condition.
Although Asima has been moved to a safe place, the police is still siding with Hussain instead of registering a case against him, clerics still believe that since she has been converted to Islam, she cannot live with her Christian family and can even be considered an apostate for reconverting to Christianity. Therefore, the situation has become very dangerous for the family.
Nasir Saeed, director CLAAS-UK said that forced conversion of Christian girls in Punjab and Hindu girls in Sindh continues to rise and has become commonplace.
He said: “It is shameful as the government is aware of the situation but there is still no will to address the root causes like growing hatred and prevailing narrative against minorities.
“The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs has declared the forced conversion of minority girls to Islam as un-Islamic, and has asked the government to adopt a comprehensive mechanism for protection of women belonging to minority communities.
“Last year despite the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights recommendations to criminalise forced religious conversions it seems to be all falling on the deaf ears of the government.”
He further said it is sad that the government is continuously ignoring such issues which are very important for the minorities and because of the government’s inaction they feel insecure and are forced to migrate to other countries.
Pakistan has ratified several international treaties under which it is under obligation to make a new legislation, if required, to stop the ongoing human rights violations and persecution of minorities’ girls in Pakistan. But there is not much hope.