A Pakistani court has sent Christian girl Hoorab, 12, to a shelter home instead of handing her back to her parents.

Hoorab from Faisalabad was kidnapped on 28 December 2022 and converted to Islam by a Muslim shopkeeper in Chak no 7, a village near Faisalabad.

After a court order was issued, Hoorab was recovered by the local police and on February 17, 2023, she was produced in court.

In her statement to the court, she stated that she had converted to Islam of her own free will.

She said she had not been pressured by anyone and she did not want to live with m her parents anymore. Therefore, the court decided to send her to a women’s shelter home.

Hoorab’s father, Basharat, is a daily wager and after his wife’s death 6 months ago, he alone is responsible for taking care of his four children.

Hoorab used to go shopping for their daily needs, and on December 28, she went to buy some stuff and never returned. When Hoorab did not return, after a long wait her youngest sister, Salika, went out to look for her in the village and several residents told her they had seen her together with a man called Usman.

The day Hoorab’s father complained to the local police station. Nishatabad police arrested Mustafa and Mohammad Usman who was working with him. Mustafa, the shopkeeper, told police that Usman had enticed the little girl by telling her that he would buy her a new dress from the shop.

On December 30 Hoorab was located in Dar-ul-Aman shelter for women. After the investigation, police told her father that she had been converted to Islam.

Hoorab’s father said Mustafa had taken revenge on him because some time ago, he had warned him about being inappropriate with young Christian girls. According to him, the in-charge police officer is cooperative while the investigation officer Rana Ahmad seems to have been bribed and used delaying tactics in the investigation so Mustafa was granted bail from the court.

Basharat said he is a poor man working as a daily wager, it is not possible for him to pursue the case and look after his children, therefore he requested that the high officials and the government get his daughter back. He said she was innocent and he loves her so much, asking them to please do justice to him.

Lala Robin Daniel, a human rights activist said in a statement: “This is a very unfortunate situation for underage Christian girls and for their families, we don’t know when the government will realise and stop this ongoing situation.”