Pakistani court sparks outrage by ruling Christian girl, 14, must stay married to alleged abductor

A Pakistani court has ruled that a 14-year-old Christian girl legally married a Muslim man who allegedly abducted her at gunpoint.

The girl’s mother, Nighat Shahbaz of Madina Town, Faisalabad, has registered a case at the local police station against Muslim man, Naqash.

She believes he kidnapped her daughter Maira Shahbaz. Maira was abducted in April by Naqash, Muhammad Younas and their other companions.
They forced her into a car and drove away.

Two Christian men who knew the teenager tried to help her, but the kidnappers threatened to shoot them, so they had to let the girl go.

They apologised for not being able to do anything to save Maira but said they would be witnesses wherever and whenever needed.

Naqash, who is already married, claims Maira was 19 years old, but according to the teenager’s family she is a minor and to prove their claim they have produced her birth certificate and school records.

Despite all this evidence being provided, a local court had ruled that Maira should be removed from Naqash’s house and placed in a girls’ shelter, pending further investigation.

However, that decision was reversed on Tuesday by a High Court with a greater jurisdiction in Pakistan, and said she should stay with Naqash as she is an adult.

Maira and her family were very upset and disappointed by the decision, and the girl was brought to tears by the ruling while her mother was left stunned and speechless.

This is not the first case where Christian parents have been refused custody of their daughter despite evidence that she was minor.

Maira’s family has said they will appeal in the highest court against this decision to get their daughter back, but it can take years and years, and in the meantime Maira will have to stay with her kidnapper, which is a mockery of justice.

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