By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan
SAHIWAL, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– An impoverished father of a young Christian woman was still knocking at the doors of Pakistan’s justice system Sunday, March 1, a year after his daughter was kidnapped by Muslim gunmen who apparently tried to “convert” her to Islam.
Maqbool Masih told BosNewsLife that his daughter Noshi, 23, was abducted at gun-point in March 2008 from their family home in the village of Chak 190/9-L of Sahiwal district in Punjab province. He said the Muslim men also robbed him of 50 thousands Pakistani Rupees ($ 635), a huge amount in this rural region.
“I am not sure of the present situation and condition of my daughter. I fear she is chained at an unknown location by this men who want her to embrace Islam,” he added.
Masih said local police and other authorities have been reluctant to take action against “their powerful and dominant Muslim brethren.” Although police eventually “registered the case” they have so far “neither arrested suspects or recovered my daughter,” he said.
Even Christian officials “who proclaim to be the champions of human rights and especially staunch defenders of Christian rights in Pakistan,” did not help him, Masih claimed. “I knocked on the palaces of Christian ministers and top Christian clergy men but they did nothing more than giving promises.”
A Christian lawyer Javed Sahotra filed a petition at a court to pressure police and other authorities to find the woman. In a reaction, the regional Javed Sahotra Sessions Court Sahiwal promised to help “recover” Masih’s daughter, BosNewsLife learned.
The court directed the “related police officials to produce” the woman in the Sessions Court, soon. It also “promised” to help prosecute suspects in the case. Masih said he fears his financial status didn’t encourage police and the justice system to act faster. “I am very poor and was not able to pay the exorbitant fees of lawyers.”
There have been several kidnappings of Christian girls and women in Pakistan, amid mounting concerns among advocacy groups about rising Muslim extremism against the country’s Christian minority.