In Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Saba Masih, a Christian girl helping her parents meet the family’s financial needs, was abducted on May 20 in Faisalabad (Punjab), by a group of Muslim men over forty years old who seized her in the street at 9 a.m. as the young girl was on her way to work with her older sister.
As reported by the AsiaNews website on May 25, and as stated by Simon Aleem, a human rights activist, who resides in the same city, “Saba is an innocent girl who is a victim of an injustice that unfortunately continues to be repeated. Many Christian girls have been targeted and kidnapped; a few days later the kidnapper produces the girl’s conversion certificate and claims that she accepted Islam voluntarily and married the person who kidnapped her.”
From here on, the news becomes even more confusing, devoid as it is of any echo on the big Western media, to the point that it is still unclear whether Saba has been returned to the family after the protests and sit-ins organized by Pakistani human rights activists, or not.
According to the Voice of the Martyrs from Canada, Saba was probably fortunately returned home, although the family protested vibrantly because the police force would have approached the case of her abduction very, very cautiously, as if the fate of a young girl was not at stake in the hands of four brutes who kidnapped her, raped her and forced her into conversion and marriage to one of them, of an age that could be her father: to become the fourth wife of a monster.
“According to some reports submitted by human rights activists,” continues the Voice of the Martyrs, “at least 1,000 women from religious minority groups are converted and forcibly married each year in Pakistan. It is believed that the number may be higher since many cases go unreported. Those affected are almost always part of poor minorities, who have little influence with the authorities.”
As human rights activist Lala Robin Daniel tells The Morning Star News, Saba could also have testified in court against her captors and her tormentor. “Saba was in a state of severe mental and physical trauma when the accused’s relatives brought her to the police on May 31,” he said. “The girl’s return was made possible by pressure from church leaders and activists, who demonstrated daily from 7 p.m. until midnight.” The kidnapper and rapist, 45-year-old Muhammad Yasir Hussain, is reportedly still at large.
Saba’s case is just one of many. iFamNews has already written about Maira and Farah, but this is the same fate of so many Christian girls preyed upon in Pakistan. “For 2022, Pakistan ranked eighth on Open Doors’ worldwide checklist of the 50 countries where it is the most difficult to be a Christian. The country ranks second in the number of Christians killed for reasons of faith, after Nigeria, with 620 people killed from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. Pakistan ranks fourth n terms of the number of churches attacked or closed: 183 in total.”