Thirteen-year-old Christian girl forcefully converted and married in Pakistan
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that on the 19th of February 2021, thirteen-year-old Christian Shakaina Masih went missing from her day job as a cleaning lady in Lahore. When her mother, Samina Masih, arrived to take her home, her employer said she already left. Samina could not find her anywhere.
Panicked, Samina and her husband contacted the police to register a missing person report, but the police did not answer for two days. Finally, Samina filed a First Information Report on the 21st of February, and investigators found Shakaina married as a Muslim woman to Ali Bashir. When Bashir kidnapped Shakaina, he forcefully converted and illegally married Shakaina.
According to Morning Star News (MSN), “Intercourse with a girl below the age of sixteen is statutory rape in Pakistan, but in most cases a falsified conversion certificate and Islamic marriage certificate influence police to pardon kidnappers.”
Despite Pakistani laws against underage marriage, “police do not apply them to cases. Moreover, sections related to rape and abduction are also ignored, which enables the perpetrators to obtain bail and walk free from the case,” Hameed told MSN. “This prejudicial attitude is putting the security of all minority girls at risk and needs to end immediately.”