A 12-year-old Christian girl converted, raped and chained up in a cattle pen by 45-year-old Muslim in Pakistan

    21-Jan-2021   
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A 12-year-old Christian girl, who was allegedly abducted, raped and forced to marry a 45-year-old man who kept her chained up in a cattle pen in Pakistan, has been rescued by the Karachi police.
 
Syed Ali Azhar forcibly converted the victim to Islam and married her in October, a judicial magistrate in the city's court (south) was told.
 
Tragically, the 12-year-old girl spent five months bound in the 45-year-old Muslim man's cattle-yard where she worked all day cleaning the cattle pen.
 
The Karachi Police rescued the girl from Faisalabad last month and found cuts on her body.
 
The girl's father said that despite making multiple complaints to the police, he could not file an official report until September.
 
He said police even made racial comments about him and threatened to charge him with blasphemy.
 
The victim's father has also criticised the court-commissioned medical report which says that the girl was aged 16 or 17, even though her birth certificate states she is 12.
 
The magistrate has ordered registration of rape charge against Syed Ali Azhar and a case against cleric Qazi Mufti Ahmed Jaan Raheemi, who allegedly performed the Nikah ceremony.
 
In the 20-page order, the judge noted that Section 376 (punishment for rape) under of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 3 of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 were applicable against Azhar.
 
Huge protest has taken place by the Pakistani Christians against child marriage and forced conversion in Karachi
 
The case has been taken up by Christian charities who claim several girls are being abducted and forced into marriage in Pakistan.
 
Recently in a debate in British Parliament UK MP Theresa Villiers said that "its focus should be on Pakistan where forced conversion and forced marriage of Hindu and Christian girls is a serious problem". She also quoted the example of Asiya Bibi.
 
 
The victim's father has further alleged that she has told him that she was treated like a slave. She was forced to work all day, cleaning filth in a cattle yard. All this while, she was kept in chains.
 
The family said that the girl was abducted on June 12 last year and raped multiple times.
 
According to Human rights groups in Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are kidnapped each year and forced to convert to Islam.
 
The 12-year girl has been placed in a women's refuge camp even as investigations are going on.
 
(With inputs from agencies)