A 12-year-old Christian Pakistani girl was lured away from her home, kidnapped, then repeatedly raped by her captors for eight months — who now claim that she is married to one of the kidnappers.
The girl escaped and returned home, however police have warned her parents it would be best if she willingly returned to her captors to avoid “further trouble.”
As a result, the entire Christian family has gone into hiding. She was lured on a shopping trip in the city of Lahore by a friend, but then driven 120 miles to the village of Tandianwalla where she was sexually abused, reports Wil Longbottom in the British newspaper the Daily Mail.
Then she was forced to sign papers consenting to marriage with one of her captors and beaten for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam.
In a special report Asian Human Rights Commission has said the rapists have not been arrested because of their affiliation with a militant Muslim organization – the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. In fact, the report notes:
The police have warned the Christian parents that it would be better to hand over the girl to her ‘legal’ husband (the rapist) otherwise a criminal case will be filed against them.
The child, “Anna” — whose last name has been withheld — is the daughter of Arif Masih, a street sweeper. The commission reports that a friend came to her house and asked her to go shopping:
In the first week of September 2011, more than eight months after her disappearance, Anna called her family from Tandianwalla, district Faisalabad, 190 kilometers from Lahore, and told them that she had been abducted but had escaped and was hiding at a bus stop. The parents went there and recovered her. She was brought back to her home and the parents produced her before the First Class Magistrate who recorded her statement but did not order any action for her protection or a medical checkup.
The rapists then immediately contacted the police through their religious group and produced a marriage certificate showing that one of them, Muhammad Irfan, was married to her.
When her parents attempted to file rape and kidnapping charges, police refused, saying she had married and converted to Islam — although the legal age for marriage in Pakistan is 16.
The parents were told “it would be better to hand over the girl to her legal husband. If they refused they were told that a criminal case would be filed against them.”
The commission notes:
The Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police.
According to the Christian community, the religious extremists, who are from a banned organization, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, are searching them. The abductors are claiming that she is pregnant but her mother denies that this is true.
The British Pakistani Christian Association has launched a petition calling on the Pakistani government to investigate the attack.