Christian girl sold to Muslim to return home
Barnabas Fund, 12 April 2019
A 14-year-old Christian girl, kidnapped, sold to a Muslim and forced to marry him is to be returned to her parents in Pakistan. She had to endure a forced conversion to Islam before the illegal marriage to Zafar Iqbal in February.
Police brought the girl into Lahore High Court on 10 April and Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh ordered she be reunited with her parents.
She was snatched in nearby Faisalabad and having purchased her, Iqbal renamed her “Ayesha”, and married her despite the girl being two years under the legal age, which is 16 for women in Pakistan.
Non-Muslim girls and young women in Pakistan are very vulnerable to kidnap, forced conversion and marriage to Muslims, and authorities rarely intervene.
A report compiled by a Pakistani NGO in 2014 estimated that every year about 700 Christian and 300 Hindu girls and young women in Pakistan suffer similar abuse.