Minority Member of National Assembly of Pakistan Isphanyar M. Bhandara has written to the Chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) asking him to take notice of a 13-year-old Christian girl from Sialkot who abducted and then forcibly converted to Islam.

In his letter to Ali Nawaz Chohan, MNA Bhandara said this is a genuine case of forced conversion, therefore, the commission must take necessary steps in order to ensure the recovery of the girl.

He wrote letter on February 8, and requested the commission to carry out an impartial inquiry into the case, and then take any necessary action.

Wahid Akhtar son of Muhammad Bashir, resident of Mohallah Kasayian, Rodes Road, Mianapura, Sialkot abducted and forcibly converted Christian girl, Sana Shahid to Islam. Sana was forced to marry Wahid on November 9, 2015.

The abductors had produced a fake marriage certificate before the court claiming that the girl had willfully married Wahid and that she had converted to Islam out of her own free will.

The bogus marriage certificate produced by the abductors mentions that the girl was 18 years old, however, according to her parents and birth certificate, her actual age was 13 at the time of abduction. The fake marriage certificate mentioned Sana as an adult who had married the man of her own will, but in reality she was a minor at the time of marriage, therefore her marriage was illegal and a crime perpetrated by the abductor.

Abduction and forced conversion to Islam of minority’s girls is now common place and the government is well aware of this issue, but has unfortunately failed to bring unified legislation to stop the ongoing forced conversion to Islam.

Recently the Sindh Government passed a bill to criminalise forced conversion, but because of severe objections from Islamic religious groups, it is still pending to become a law as the governor of Sindh has refused to sign the bill. This means that forcible conversion will continue with impunity.

This is a very unfortunate situation for religious minorities in Pakistan as their own government seems helpless and reluctant to protect their rights and honour.