13-year-old Christian girl abducted, forced into Islamic marriage in Pakistan

Sania Ameen
Sania Ameen | Global Christian Relief

A Christian father in Pakistan is looking for justice after his teenage daughter was recently kidnapped and forced into marriage.

On April 4, 2024, 13-year-old Sania Ameen was abducted near her home in the remote village of Anjotar Sialkot in Punjab, Pakistan. The girl's father, Ameen Masih, said his daughter was forcibly taken by a local man and two accomplices while on her way to shop for groceries for the family.

Masih reported that on the day of the abduction, he and his wife received a distressing call from another daughter about Sania's disappearance. They hurried back home and immediately began searching for their missing daughter. Several eyewitnesses in the area said that Sania was unwillingly abducted by a man named Saif Ali and his associates. Masih quickly filed a complaint against Ali with the authorities, but it was not registered by the police, who instead blamed Masih for being an irresponsible father who failed to protect his daughters.

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Despite Masih's desperate appeals, local law enforcement has not a First Information Report (FIR) against the alleged abductors. Authorities justified the kidnapping by stating that Sania willingly married and converted to Islam, despite her status as a minor, and closed the case within three days.

In response, Ameen submitted another written application to the police station house officer, officially requesting the registration of a complaint against Ali and the two others for multiple crimes, including kidnapping, harassment, religious conversion and the fabrication of documents to alter her age. The complaint also states Ali and his partners abducted Sania for the purpose of sexual assault and exploitation. However, the police have yet to file a report on Masih's behalf.

"We urge the authorities to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrator with the full force of the law, setting a precedent that dissuades any would-be kidnappers and exploiters from preying on the daughters of vulnerable communities like ours," Masih said. "His punishment may help the majority community understand the gravity of these issues and empathize with the pain of parents who are powerless as their daughters are abducted and forcibly converted before their very eyes. These are girls who are not even physically or mentally prepared for such atrocities. They are naive and underage."

Masih also said that regardless of the religious bias that Christians face in Pakistan and the social support of the culprits, this marriage of a minor is undoubtedly a crime and a violation of Pakistani law.

"We urge the government authorities, treating us as equal citizens of this land, to assist us in retrieving our daughter," said Masih. "She has been forcefully detained and physically abused by her abductors before our very eyes, under the watch of law enforcement."

James Jacob is a writer for Global Christian Relief (GCR) is America’s leading watchdog organization focused on the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide. In addition to equipping the Western church to advocate and pray for the persecuted, GCR works in the most restrictive countries to protect and encourage Christians threatened by faith-based discrimination and violence.

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