“Culture of impunity”: Two Christian teenage girls persecuted in Pakistan

“There is an increase in these cases, and so far the government is unable to take strong measures for the protection of girls belonging to religious minorities in Pakistan. »

Mahnoor Ashraf, a 14-year-old Pentecostal Christian, and another 16-year-old girl were victims of religious persecution in Pakistan. One was abducted, forcibly married and converted to Islam. The other was raped. For Ashiknaz Khokhar, a Christian committed to the protection of human rights, "it is essential to break the culture of impunity".

Ashiknaz Khokhar followed the case of the teenager from Okar, Punjab. Aged 16, she was raped by Muslim men, according to Agenzia Fides, which explains that the young girl had refused to give in to the text messages of Muhammad Arif, 30, who demanded sex from her. Faced with her refusal, he abducted her on January 7, gave her a sleeping pill, and raped her several times before releasing her in "traumatic circumstances" according to theAgenzia Fides.

"The girl suffered severe physical and psychological trauma," says Ashiknaz Khokhar.

“At the moment she is not even able to speak due to the shock. The family filed a complaint and the police arrested the perpetrators of the violence. There is an increase in such cases, and so far the government is unable to take firm measures for the protection of girls belonging to religious minorities in Pakistan. These girls suffer from mental and physical trauma and family respect is also greatly affected. »

Mahnoor Ashraf was also a victim of violence. Aged 14, she was kidnapped by her Muslim neighbour, Muhammad Ali Khan Ghauri, 45, on January 4th. His older brother, Akram Masih Chaudhry, reports, in remarks taken up by Morning Star News :

“Ghauri's house is on the same street and our families were on good terms. We don't know when he managed to lure Mahnoor into a relationship. Finally, on January 7, Ghauri's family informed us that Mahnoor had allegedly converted to Islam and had married Ghauri on January 4, the day she was abducted. »

A complaint was lodged with the police by Mahnoor's family. But according to her brother, "the police are doing nothing to find [her]".

According to reports on women's rights taken up by Agenzia Fides, in the Pakistani province of Punjab alone, 6 women were abducted in the first half of 754. This worrying phenomenon targets non-Muslim adolescent girls who are then converted to Islam and forced marriages.


Image credit: Shutterstock / AM Syed

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