60yo man abducts, forcibly converts and marries Christian teen in Faisalabad

    A minor Christian girl was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to her abductor in Faisalabad, as her family struggled to register a case against the accused for nearly two months, sources said.

    According to Arif Masih Gill, his 15-year-old daughter Sitara was allegedly abducted by 60-year-old Rana Tayyab on Dec 15, 2022.

    “Sitara worked as a domestic help in the house of Naila Ambreen, a government school principal, in Yousafabad area of the city. On Dec 15, Naila’s husband Rana Tayyab bundled Sitara into a car and took her away,” Gill stated in the FIR [First Information Report] registered with the Madina Town Police Station on Feb 4, 2023.

    Gill said that they approached the police several times to file a case against the accused but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

    “I am a physically challenged man from a poor Christian family who had lost all hope of getting justice. Thanks to our lawyer, an FIR was finally registered but there is still a long way to go in ensuring the safe recovery of my daughter,” Gill added.

    Speaking to Kross Konnection, Advocate Akmal Bhatti said that he took up the case as soon as he learned about it and arranged a meeting between the family and the regional police officer (RPO).

    “This led to the registration of a case against the accused under Section 365-B (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel for marriage) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).”

    “The family has now been informed that Sitara has changed her faith and married Tayyab of her free will. This is the modus operandi in all cases involving forced marriages of underage minority girls. The accused first rapes the victim and then uses the cover of an Islamic Nikah to escape punishment for this heinous crime.

    “Police are now conducting raids to arrest Tayyab and recover the child, but it is unfortunate how the family was deprived of their right to justice because they belong to a vulnerable background,” he said.

    On the issue of forced conversions and underage marriages, Bhatti said that the reason why only young girls from minority groups were targeted was that these families were generally poor with little resources to put up a fight in court.

    “The country’s legal system is currently operating under a dual system of state and Shariah laws, creating a conflict in the minimum age for marriage. State law should prevail in cases of forced conversion and underage marriage of minority girls,” he said.

    According to state law, the minimum age for marriage of girls is 16 in Punjab and 18 in Sindh. However, under Shariah law, there is no specific minimum age for marriage, leading to instances where minority girls are forced into marriage with much older men after Islamic conversion. This leads to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, further compounding the issue.

    Bhatti, who is also the chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, also criticised the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) and Punjab’s Child Protection & Welfare Bureau (CPWB) for their inaction amid a rise in cases violating the basic rights of the girl child.

    “It is time for the state to take responsibility and protect our children from being exploited under the guise of religious conversion,” he said.


    Forced conversions and underage marriages are a long-standing issue in Pakistan, which particularly affects minor girls belonging to the country’s vulnerable groups.

    At least some 1,000 women from religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, are forcibly converted and married annually in the country, Forbes magazine reported in February 2021, quoting human rights organisations.

    Although Pakistan dismissed the report as “rubbish and baseless,” Forbes said the actual numbers could be much higher as many cases go unreported.

    According to Lahore based Center for Social Justice (CSJ), over 60 cases of questionable conversions were reported in 2021-22. The victims included 30 Christians and 30 Hindus.

    Seventy percent of these victims were less than 18 years of age.

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