Another Christian girl was abducted by a Muslim in Pakistan's Punjab province.
12-year-old Meerab Abbas was taken by Muhammad Daud, 10 years her senior and a native of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, according to Asia News.
The girl lived in Sahiwal with her mother, Farzana, a 45-year-old widow who works as a domestic worker.
Meerab disappeared on November 2 and is believed to have been taken to Balochistan to be forced to convert to Islam and marry Daud.
Although the Christian girl remains in the hands of her abductors, police have arrested two suspects.
Father Zahid Augustine, pastor in Sahiwal, joined the appeal, explaining that Farzana “already has many challenges to face in her life”.
“We call upon the government to consider these abductions and forced marriages as a grave issue and adopt strict laws to protect minorities, who are essential for the development of the country,” he said.
“Mareeb is only 12 years old, and she cannot marry,” he added. “The perpetrators commit these crimes in the name of religion. We just want justice.”
Human rights activist Ashiknaz Khokhar notes that kidnapping underage girls from religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan.
“The government is not taking this issue seriously and parliament recently refused to pass the bill on forced conversion,” Khokhar explained.
“Every year about 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam. There is a dire need for a dedicated law to protect minority girls.”
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