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Family fears for missing Christian woman in Pakistan

Country/Region: Pakistan, South and East Asia

The family of a young Christian woman in Pakistan who was allegedly kidnapped by a Muslim man fear that she has been forcibly converted and will be married to her captor.

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Farah Hatim (24), a student nurse in Rahim Yar Khan, South Punjab, went missing on the morning of 8 May as she left for work. Her mother, Bilquees Marriam, said Farah was abducted by the man and his two brothers, and that this family kidnaps Christian girls and forcibly converts them. She said the alleged kidnapper had been threatening Farah in a bid to get her to convert and marry him.

Farah’s mother and six siblings went to the police station to report the incident, but officers refused to accept their complaint, tearing up the application for a First Information Report (FIR), which launches an investigation. The local Christian community gathered in protest outside the police superintendent’s office, demanding the arrest of the suspects and recovery of Farah. Several protestors were injured as the police used force in a bid to disperse them.

The Superintendent ordered an FIR to be registered but this was delayed, giving the suspects time to take Farah to the district court, where she gave a statement. Farah, who was clearly injured, told the judge that had converted voluntarily and wanted to marry the man in question. She was not questioned about her injuries or the statement and did not sign it.

Barrister Zahid Hussain said the judge would normally send everyone out of the courtroom when such a statement was given to ensure it was not being made under duress, but in this case the suspected kidnappers were present.

He added:

The judge even ignored the fact that Farah Hatim was injured, he didn’t question her about the wounds, she didn’t even sign the statement. This clearly shows that she was forced to give the statement and the whole system is supporting and protecting the culprits.

An FIR was eventually registered, but no arrests have been made, and Farah remains held at an undisclosed location.

Human rights activist Rizwan Paul said south Punjab was a safe haven for extremists and that there were many cases of anti-Christian persecution that went unreported. He added:

Unfortunately the administration is protecting the culprits, the local politicians are also protecting them. Hatred for Christians is common here, most of them are treated as animals. We have highlighted several cases of forced conversions and brought it [to] the notice of the authorities, but they put a deaf ear [to] it.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 22 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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