Christian Father Shot for Sheltering Abducted Daughter
Gulzar Masih, a Christian father in Sialkot, north-east of the Punjab province in Pakistan was shot at by unidentified assailant last week and is hospitalized in critical condition.
Masih’s daughter who is hearing and speaking impaired was abducted four to five months ago by their Muslim neighbour Ghulam Hussain who claims that she not only has converted to Islam now from her Christian faith but also that he has married her.
The girl somehow managed to escape from her abductor and returned to her father’s house.
Masih approached the police who, “instead of listening to his grievances and helping him, pressurised him to send his daughter back to her abductor,” said Nasir Saeed, Director of Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a Christian charity dedicated to helping persecuted Christians in Pakistan to Global Christian News (GCN).
Press reports state that Hussain tried all means to harass the Christian family to return the girl back to him claiming her to be his legitimate wife.
The court granted her permission to live with her Christian family after she showed her unwillingness to return to Hussain.
The abductor had threatened Masih with dire consequences if he would not return the girl to him claiming that the girl had converted to Islam.
Masih is now in a critical condition struggling for life.
Saeed told GCN that forced conversion of Christian girls in Punjab and Hindu girls in Sindh continues to rise and has become commonplace.
He said, “It is shameful as the government is aware of the situation but there is still no will to address the root causes like growing hatred and prevailing narrative against minorities.
“The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs has declared the forced conversion of minority girls to Islam as un-Islamic, and has asked the government to adopt a comprehensive mechanism for protection of women belonging to minority communities.
“Last year despite the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights recommendations to criminalise forced religious conversions it seems to be all falling on the deaf ears of the government,” he said.