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Pakistan: Christian Girl, 10, Kidnapped and Forcibly Converted

For information about the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Christian Girl, 10, Kidnapped and Forcibly Converted in Pakistan,” Morning Star News, March 11, 2024:

LAHORE, Pakistan (Christian Daily International–Morning Star News) – The Christian parents of a 10-year-old girl in Pakistan who was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam last month fear she could be sold to sex traffickers, sources said.

A month after Laiba Suhail was abducted from her home in Chak 233-RB Ikhlaq Town, Faisalabad District, Punjab Province on Feb. 12 by four non-Muslims at the behest of a Muslim, Shaukat Shah, officials have refused to prosecute, said her father, Suhail Masih.

Shah is well-known in the area for forcibly converting children to Islam under duress, coercing them to file court statements that they willfully converted and later taking them from shelter homes on the pretext of giving them religious education, Masih said.

A court sent his daughter to a women’s shelter at her request after police on Feb. 15 informed Masih that she had filed an application claiming she had converted to Islam. Masih said that he has learned that Shah has taken custody of her from the shelter.

“This is Shah’s modus operandi,” Masih told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “No one knows what happens to his victims after they are handed to him. We fear that he and his accomplices are involved in sex trafficking, and they sell these minor girls when they see that the families are in no position to pursue the matter further in courts.”

He lamented that the Roshan Wala Police Station has not taken action to recover his daughter despite the family’s registration of an abduction case against Shah.

“On Feb. 15, police informed us that an application had been filed by Laiba in the court of a magistrate in which she had claimed that she had converted to Islam of her own free will ‘after being impressed with Islamic teachings,’” Masih said. “We immediately went to the court where we saw our minor daughter surrounded by several policemen. We were not allowed to talk to her despite our repeated requests. The police later presented her before the magistrate where she reportedly repeated the contents of the application. She also sought to be sent to the Dar Ul Aman [women’s shelter], which the magistrate admitted.”

Masih said that the family looked on helplessly as Shah and police took his daughter to the shelter.

“We could not do anything after Laiba’s statement before the court, which I believe was extracted under duress,” he said. “We were not given any opportunity to ask her under what circumstances she was forced to give this statement.”

Masih questioned how a 10-year-old girl could convert to Islam willingly when she did not even have basic education, let alone a religious one.

“It is a blatant lie that my daughter has changed her faith willingly,” he said. “Whatever little religious education she has is from the church’s Sunday school. She has had no interaction with Muslims, because she used to stay at home all day long to take care of me and her mother.”

Masih, a member of the Church of Pakistan, is crippled in both legs, and neither he nor his wife are able to work due to health problems, he said….

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