The parents of a 13-year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped in Pakistan have joined a Catholic charity in their fight to win back their daughter who was kidnapped by a man who forced her to marry him and convert to Islam.
Aid for the Church in Need (ACN), which supports persecuted Christians, is providing legal aid and paralegals in the case of Arzoo Raja, a Catholic, who was kidnapped from his home in Karachi.
Lawyers for Tabassum Yousaf are scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, October 28) to represent the Arzoo family at the first hearing of the case at the Sindh High Court.
After Arzoo disappeared, his parents lost their jobs and reportedly received threats from their kidnappers, and now ACN will help cover their legal fees and daily living expenses.
In an emotional cry for the return of their daughter, a copy of which was sent to ACN, Rita, Arzoo’s mother, said: “In the name of God, please save our daughter. We are very worried. Please help us.
“The kidnappers and their supporters scared us and we were in danger from these people. Please listen to our cries.”
According to the First Information Report (FIR), Arzoo’s father, Raja, told police that the 13-year-old was kidnapped from his family home in the Karachi Railway Colony on the morning of October 13, shortly after his parents left for work. Two days later, police called the family to say that the kidnapper, Ali Azhar, a 44-year-old Muslim, who is married and has children, has presented a marriage certificate with Arzoo, which states the girl is 18 and that she is willing to convert to Islam.
The family has an official birth certificate which shows that Arzoo is 13 years old.
Social activists, lawmakers and many Christians staged a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on Saturday (24 October), demanding the enforcement of the Child Marriage Restriction Act, which prohibits marrying a minor.
Highlighting the challenges of addressing the persecution of religious minorities across Pakistan, Regina Lynch, director of the charity project, said: “There is progress at the national level but it is important that the authorities responsible for defending victims – namely police forces and judicial authorities – break free from pressure. extremist groups. “
The Movement for Solidarity and Peace calculates that each year up to 1,000 young Christian and Hindu girls aged between 12 and 25 are kidnapped by Muslim men, marry forcibly and convert to religions.
Aid to the Church in Need is running a petition asking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant asylum for Maira Shahbaz, a 14-year-old Christian girl who went into hiding following death threats from her former kidnapper, who raped her and forced her to marry her and convert to Islam. To sign a petition visit: www.acnuk.org/petition
Help for a Church in Need: www.acnuk.org
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