By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian mother of seven who last August was kidnapped, raped, sold into marriage and threatened with death in Pakistan’s Punjab province was free Sunday, March 13, after police rescued her, right activists and Christians said.
Police reportedly freed Shaheen Bibi, 40, in a remote area between the cities of Rahim Yar Khan and Sadiqabad, described by locals as a zone ruled by criminal groups.
Bibi, 40, told reporters that after she refused to convert to Islam and accept the marriage, human traffickers threatened to kill her unless her father Manna Masih paid a ransom of 100,000 rupees (US$1,170) by Saturday March 5.
The woman, who was found chained to a tree outside a house, said she had lifted her eyes “in prayer, saw a cross in the sky and was comforted that God’s mighty hand would release” her even though her father had no money to pay ransom.
Kidnappers reportedly handed her over on condition that they would not be the targets of further legal action. Police and rights activists said they told her captors that those who had sold her in the city of Lahore would be prosecuted.
Bibi’s case has underscored concerns about wide spread cases of kidnappings in Pakistan, often involving Christian girls and women.
Representatives of Pakistan’s Christian minority have asked for more protection, following the assassination this month of the country’s Minority’s Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the cabinet.