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Another Christian girl kidnapped and forcibly married in Pakistan

Salman Masih, the father of the kidnapped girl, had taken his daughter out of school to protect her. Sadly, the Muslim suitor abducted the 15-year-old Muskan last month. Her father is still fighting to retrieve her.

The Catholic father laments the loss of his daughter: “It’s been nearly two months now that I’m desperately searching for my little daughter, Muskan. She went missing from home on March 11, but despite my frantic appeals to the police to recover her, my child is still in the custody of her Muslim abductor, Arsalan Ali.”

Salman had filed a report with the police, but they ignored his plea: “After several hours of waiting, I was told that a police team would come to my home the next day, but I would have to pay them 5,000 Pakistani rupees (US$1,793) in ‘fuel costs’. The police’s indifferent attitude helped the accused in moving my daughter to a safe location and carrying out his nefarious act. According to the documents handed to me by the police, the Islamic conversion and Nikah (marriage certificate) were held on the same day Muskan was abducted from home. The next day, the abductor, Arsalan, filed a petition in the Court of Justice of Peace in Mirpur Khas Tehsil in the name of Muskan, which stated that she was an adult aged 19 years and had converted and married of her free will. I don’t believe that Muskan has gone with Arsalan willingly because she told us about his evil actions. We brought the matter to the notice of Arsalan’s family, and they had assured us of reining him in, but he did not stop. Muskan did not have access to a mobile phone, and she did not go out of the house alone, which is why I believe she had no communication with the accused. I don’t know how he managed to abduct her from the house on that fateful day. Arsalan has a notorious reputation in the neighbourhood, and I fear something bad will happen to my child if she is not recovered from his custody. I appeal to the Christian leadership to help me in finding my daughter and saving her from exploitation.”

Salman is a poor sanitation worker struggling to make ends meet. He is worried that his daughter will be sold as a sex slave. His attorney, Luke Victor, assisted him in filing a critical claim in the Hyderabad Bench of the Sindh High Court, disapproving the abductor’s petition. 

Victor stated: “The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 bars child marriage and mandates penal consequences for any adult person contracting, performing or facilitating the marriage of a child. According to the anti-child marriage rules, any person authorized to perform or solemnize a marriage is bound to ascertain the age of both the contracting parties to prevent the solemnization of child marriages. Muskan does not have an official birth document issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), but her school certificate attested by the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Tando Ghulam Ali, Badin, states her age as 15 years, hence a minor under the Sindh anti-child marriage laws, which prescribes the legal age for marriage at 18 years for girls. We are hoping that the high court will fix our petition for hearing next week and order an investigation to ascertain her age. It is regretful that despite the enforcement of the anti-child marriage laws in Sindh, such marriages are continuing with impunity.”


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