On Sunday, April 26, a 14-year-old Christian girl from Madina Town, located in the Faisalabad district of Punjab, Pakistan, was abducted by a group of armed Muslim men. According to local reports, the Christian girl’s family has filed a police report and is begging police to recover their relative.
According to the First Information Report (#834/20) filed with police, Myra Shehbaz was abducted by a group of Muslim men led by Muhammad Naqash. Eye witnesses claim that Myra was attacked while she was traveling to her workplace as a domestic worker on Sunday afternoon.
Pervez Masih, Younas Masih, and Naeem Masih, the eye witnesses, claimed that Myra’s abductors forced her into a car and that Myra tried to resist. These eye witnesses were unable to help Myra because abductors were armed and fired several shots into the air.
Nighat, Myra’s mother, told International Christian Concern (ICC) that she fears her daughter will be raped, forcefully converted is Islam, or even killed.
“I beg the authorities to bring my daughter back,” Nighat told ICC. “The culprits should also be punished according to the law.”
Abductions and assaults on women and girls from Pakistan’s religious minority communities are unfortunately common. According to a study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, abducted, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.
The issue of religion is also often injected into cases of sexual assault to place religious minority victims at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, perpetrators know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing an element of religion.