The issue of kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage should be handled on the basis of human rights, rather than making it a religious issue.
24 November 2020
KARACHI: “We are citizens of Pakistan and the law is the same for every citizen of Pakistan; it is the responsibility of the State to ensure justice for its citizens.
The issue of kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage should be handled on the basis of human rights, rather than making it a religious issue. It is the responsibility of the State to provide protection, ensure justice for every citizen, regardless of creed, culture, ethnicity and social class “: this is what Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, stated at a meeting held yesterday 19 November, at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi This initiative was organized by the local Church’s “Justice and Peace” Commission to discuss the case of Arzoo Raja (see Fides, 21/10/2020) and other Christian children who were kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and marry their captors.
Cardinal Joseph Coutts said: “I appreciate all our Christian brothers and sisters who are committed to addressing and resolving these cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage of minors; I also appreciate the role of civil society and their support in bringing justice to girls. young people and their families “. The cardinal added: “I thank Bilawal Zardari for his intervention in the Arzoo Raja case. We appreciate the Medical Council, the judiciary, all political leaders and human rights activists who are working on this matter and stepping in to report the Arzoo Raja case and support justice”.
Cardinal Coutts observed: “There are laws that recognize and punish such crimes. The perpetrator must be punished according to the law of the country: kidnapping someone, forcing someone to marry or changing religions are crimes punishable under the law”.
The meeting was organized and moderated by Fr. Saleh Diego, Director of the Justice and Peace Commission, and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Karachi. Also attending were Catholic priests, Protestant church pastors, Christian lawyers, human rights activists, minority rights supporters, lay people and members of other religions. All are urged to work together to promote justice and equal rights for all citizens, regardless of religion, culture or ethnicity.
Speaking to about 100 people, Fr. Saleh Diego said: “We must continue our efforts and work in unity, but at the same time we must avoid spreading unnecessary rumors and fake news about cases of kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage”, warning against the unconfirmed rumors that lead to problems in real cases and situations.
Fr. Saleh Diego further stated: “We appreciate all those who have voiced their voices through social media platforms, but we hope that this issue is not highlighted as a religious issue. First of all we are citizens of Pakistan and secondly we are a minority religion in Pakistan. We are. must support state officials, security forces, and the judiciary so that they uphold the law and guarantee the rights of all people “.––Fides Agency