Once again, terrible news comes from Pakistan, highlighting how the Christian community is suffering severe persecution in the predominantly Muslim country. Once again, a very young girl, little more than a child, was kidnapped and forced into conversion to Islam and Muslim marriage.
The news was released two days ago, Wednesday, on the AsiaNews website. Meerab Palous, 15, a Christian resident of Faisalabad’s Muzaffar Colony area, was allegedly sedated with sleeping pills added to a drink on the evening of June 22 by Gulnaz, a Muslim friend and her neighbor. The young girls were on the ground floor of Meerab’s house, while their parents slept upstairs. Gulnaz’s half-brother Muhammad Asif would later intervene and kidnap Meerab, forcing her to convert and marry.
As early as the next day, the conversion and marriage certificates were ready, bearing precisely the date of June 23, with the obviously false statement that Meerab would marry voluntarily. The documents were submitted to the Faisalabad court in the following days and include a bogus date of birth, according to which the girl would appear as 18 years old.
Pakistani police, to whom Meerab’s parents went to report the abduction and ask for help, did not grant the family’s request and want to dismiss the case as voluntary removal.
Naveed Walter, president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), which the desperate parents approached, said this new case is evidence of the alarming growth of abductions, conversions, and forced marriages in the country. “The government,” he comments, “should take serious action to protect Christian and Hindu girls, who are considered an easy target. According to the latest estimates, more than a thousand such cases occur every year, and most of them go unreported.”
After Maira, after Farah, after Saba, it is now Meerab’s turn. And who knows how many unnamed girls there are, whom we know nothing about, nor will we ever learn anything. They suffer in silence, unknown to anyone.