PAKISTAN: Victims of forced conversion and forced marriages
We wish to share with you the following article from CLAAS Pakistan, written by Mr. Joseph Francis.
Asian Human Rights Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2011
An article from Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) Pakistan forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Victims of forced conversion and forced marriages
Ms. Tina aged 28 d/o Barkat, Christian by faith and resident of. She has six siblings Samuel 35-year, Nasreen 32-yers-old, Rebecca 30- year-old, and Saira 21-year-old (Adopted). Tina belong to a strong believe Christian family. Her father is a very active member of the church and elder of the church committee while her mother has been expired many years. Tina’s family was the only Christian family living among the Muslim community. She was master in arts and teaching as an art teacher in a school nearby her house. She was well known in surrounding due to her art work especially making drawing. According to Tina she was very polite towards her students. Once a Muslim girl Sobia from the locality come to her and requested Tina to help her to prepare her practical copies (schoolwork) for her matriculation exams. Tina become agreed to help her because it was an art work.
Tina noticed that Sobia began to visit her repeatedly, and become a bosom friend; Tina also got involved and often visits her at her home, and ignored her family just because of her friend. With the passage of time Sobia started to invite Tina to embrace Islam and told her that Islam is complete code of life, therefore not only Tina but all her family should embrace Islam. Tina always took it lightly and ignored Sobia’s invitation.
Talking to CLAAS Tina told that whenever she went to visit Sobia she shared religious issues with her and tried to convince her embrace Islam. Once Tina went to visit Sobia and find that her maternal uncle (a fanatic) was also there and started to share Quranic Verses with Tina. Later Sobia took Tina to her uncle’s place where they started to force her to convert in to Islam. Tina wanted to go back to her home but she was late therefore she was frightened from the beating of her father and brothers then she preferred to go her maternal aunt at Joseph Colony Shad Bag Lahore. On the other hand Tina’s family was worried about her and searching for her in surroundings for which they were failed. Tina’s father went to Sobia’s house and asked her about his daughter but she did not tell about where she is. Tina’ s family became worried for her; meanwhile her aunt told Tina’s father by telephonically that Tina is safe her home, and then her father took her back to home. According to Tina, her father and other family members tried to provide her a good and changed environment, therefore they sent her at her maternal uncle’s place, and during this time they were praying for her. After few days when she came back she again went to visit Sobia and then made it routine.
Once again she was trapped by Sobia and her uncle during she was on visit to her, Tina could not go back to her home because she has had been forcefully kept at Sobia’s place. Tina was forced to embrace Islam and after that she was married to a Muslim man Qasir Javiad with the concern of Sobia’s uncle and parents. Tina’s father went to Sobia’s parents for several times and asked for her but they did not allow her to go back to her parent because now she was a Muslim. Out of this wedlock she has two children named Meerab Javaid aged 2 and Tameen aged 8. According to Tina after few days of her marriage she felt that her husband as well as in-laws does not have good behavior towards her. Qasir started to beat her even on trifle matters and has made her life miserable. She told CLAAS that one week ago her husband gave her severe beatings and expelled her out form the house. She told that due to her cruel behavior, mental and physical torture a severe hatred has developed in her heart against her husband and she will prefer to die rather than to live with Qasir as his Muslim wife. Therefore she does not want to live with her husband anymore and wants to get divorce through legal
procedure. Talking to CLAAS Tina said that her husband and other family members are pressurizing her father and other family members. They have also registered a report in the police station that her parents have kidnapped her because they were not happy due to her conversion in to Islam, and want to make her Christian again. Police took Tina’s father to the police station and started to harass this poor family to search Tina and said that if Tina did not come back to his husband she would have to face severe consequences.
Thus she came to know about CLAAS and approached for legal, assistance and protection, and wanted to file a suit for dissolution of marriage through CLAAS. Tina also requested CLAAS to file a harassment petition in the court against local police and her in-laws for the safety and protection of her father and siblings because her husband wanted to take her back. Through the High court Lahore bailiff CLAAS has recovered Tina’s father from the police station and also there are instruction from the High Court the local police that they can not Harass Tina’s family. After receiving severe threats of life from her husband CLAAS accommodated her and her two young daughters at Apna-Ghar (Rehabilitation Centre CLAAS). CLAAS’ lawyer Mr. Tahir Gul Sadiq (Advocate of high Court) filed a suit for dissolution of marriage on the basis of Khullah on behalf of Tina Bibi on April 26, 2010 in the court of Senior Civil Judge Lahore, the suit decided on June 23, 2010. At the moment Tina is not in contact with CLAAS since her case has decided in favor.
Shazia aged 19 d/o Inayat Masih, Christian by faith and a resident of village Amin Pur Khurd Dakkhana Gill Walla Tehsil Wizarabad District Gujranwala - Punjab. The family has five sons and three daughters namely Shahid, Naveed, Shakeel, Elishba, Irfan, Shaheen, Shazia and Imran. Shazia was a maid servant at Razia’s house in the neighbor. Shazia was working with the family since her childhood on regular basis. Razia Begum aged 35, is a Muslim lady and has two children. Razia treated Shazia like her children and both families had respect for each other. Razia was running a grocery shop in the village. Local villagers used to buy their food items and kitchen related items from the shop. Although the shop was in the house and it is easy to know about the customers. Shazia told that there was a boy named Mahmood Nazr Khan, a regular customer at the shop and belong to District Pakpattan – Punjab. Mehmood comes across for a job and started living here in the village. Gradually he became familiar customer and has neighborly relations with Razia Begum. He paid visits at Razia’s house on regular basis and obviously started bad eyes on Shazia. Finally, he himself loves Shazia while she was not aware from all about. He shared his feelings with Razia and asks for a help to talk into his proposal with Shazia. Razia and Mehmood meanly planned against Shazia and to firstly they will convert Shazia into Islam and secondly marriage. Shazia was totally unaware from their plans. Razia then started Shazia’s brain storming and gave so many reasons accordingly and proposed Shazia on Memhood’s behalf for Marriage. Razia tried her level best to convinced Shazia for marriage with Mehmood and as a result Shazia involved in Mahmood’s love. Razia later provided a cell phone to Shazia for in contact with Mehmood regularly. One day Shazia shared with Razia that she along with other family members going to attend a convention (prayer meeting) which will be held in Catholic Church Gujranwala, on March 20, 2010. Razia made a plan with Mehmood that when Shazia will be in the Church then they will be run off from the Church and will marry.
Shazia and Mehmood succeed in their plan and abscond from the Church. When her parents came to know all about and worried. The family was doubtful and therefore enquired from Razia about Shazia. The family tried their level best to know whereabouts of Shazia but failed. Few days after Talib Husain, a local resident told Shakeel Masih (Shazia’s brother) that he has seen Shazia, Chak Tanaza, Mauza Luqman, Meeroke, Tehsil Arif Walla, District Pakpattan Sharif in Mahmood Khan’s house. To follow the above mentioned address Shakeel Masih along with other relatives went to the said area for Shazia’s recovery. Mahmood Khan told them that their sister has embraced Islam and now she was a Muslim woman and they have got married. They are not eligible to take her because they are non-Muslim and how come take a Muslim woman in their house. Shakeel Masih exasperated and threatened Mahmood Khan for dire consequences. Later Mehmood agreed to give the custody of Shazia and demanded the expenses which he has made on marriage. Shazia realized that Mehmood was a Muslim and wants divorce from Mehmood. Shazia also admitted that she was deceived by Razia and took a wrong step. Now Shazia is seeking divorce and approached CLAAS office for legal assistance. CLAAS legal advisor Mr. Tahir Bashir, advocate High Court is pursuing the case at the court of sessions Gujranwala.
3- Sidra Bibi
Sidra Bibi aged 14, d/o Sarwar Masih, Christian by faith and a resident of Basti Christian Nagar, District Sheikhupura - Punjab. Her father is a laborer in a cotton factory and has four children three boys and two girls including Sidra are Naveed 16, student of 10th class, Sirda 14, Tanveer aged 12 and Amir aged 10. Sidra narrated her story and said that a man named Khalid s/o Muhammad Chawa, resident of the same village, professionally a tractor driver and a bad character man who kept bad eyes on her. She stated that he never lose any time to tease and passed insulting remarks against her. She told that he made his hobby to tease and harass her time and again. On May 26th, 2010 she went to pay a visit to her aunt’s house, while she was on her way Khalid, winked her and again passed cheap comments and used abusive language on her who was not tolerable for her and she also gave him abuses.
On August 28, 2009, the day of the incident she went out in the open fields at 05:00 a.m. for some lavatory needs (villages used to go out for their lavatory needs in fields etc). When she was in the fields she saw Khalid, who was already standing there along with two unknown persons armed with deadly weapons. Khalid stopped her and threatened for the dire consequences if she makes noise and will be killed. The all three men forcibly abducted her on gun point and later took her to Lahore and gang raped. She further said that Khalid obtained her thumb impression on some blank papers. During her abduction she was not provided food and confined in a dark room without electricity. She was physically abused by Khalid severely. She also said that Khalid comes in every afternoon along with two unknown persons who gang raped her and after they again confined her in dark room. After such inhuman acts of violence and abused she became pregnant but Khalid did not cares. She became weaker without proper food and medical needs. Sidra further stated that after 3 months Khalid took her to Village Jhenda where she got a chance to escape form his detention and rushed to her house. She narrated the whole episode of her abduction and violence to her family.
On December 20, 2009 she registered a first information report under section 365/B of the Pakistan Penal Code at Manawala Police Station. The police did not take the matter seriously and fever the accused and refused to take action against perpetrators. Therefore after their time and again visits at the police station the victim family approached CLAAS office for legal assistance. Presently Mr. Tahir Gull Sadiq Advocate of High Court pursuing her case in the court.
4- Ms. Samina Ayub forcedly converted into Islam and forcedly married
On March 6, 2010 at 7:00 p. m a house maid Samina Ayub aged 17 was suspiciously missed from her work place. ”After finishing her work at Chaudhary Mohammad Khalid Cheema’s house Samina was kidnapped by Ali Akbar when she was on the way to home” Surriya Bibi said. Samina Ayub lived along with her mother Surriya Bibi and Aunt Bina Bibi at Model Town Lahore. Her father was in Masqat (abroad) due to his work. She was the only daughter of her parents. Afterwards she informed to her mother Surriya Bibi that Ali Akbar forcedly picked-up. First he forcedly converted her in to Islam and she was given a new name as Fatima Bibi and secondly forcedly married with her under Islamic rites on March 06, 2010. She further told to her mother that she did not wanted to live with him because he forbid her to meeting with parents but she to come back in the family. Her mother also told CLAAS that she has got registered kidnapping case FIR No. 98/2010 offense under section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against Ali Akbar in the police station Model Town Lahore but police did not take any legal action against the accused. “I never visited Cheema’s house but Samina told that Ali Akbar often come to owner’s house and tried to talk to her” said Surriya Bibi. It’s about 6 months that police is not only failed to recover his daughter but also failed to arrest accused Ali Akbar said Ayub Masih. Ayub Masih told to CLAAS that he lived in a small Town of district Kasur along with his wife Suriaya Bibi and daughter Samina. Four years ago due to some domestic dispute, Suriaya Bibi went to her parent’s place and left Samina with her father. Ayub Masih could not look after his daughter properly therefore he left Samina with his younger sister Bina Bibi at Model Town Lahore. Bina Bibi worked at Cheema’s house and lived in the servant quarter in the same house.
Soon after quarrel Ayub left abroad, Masqat and since Samina was living along with her aunt and helped her in her work at Cheema’s house. Samina lived about four years with her aunt therefore aunt started to depend on her and sent Samina to work at Cheema’s house. After four years Ayub Masih was back to Pakistan for three months leave. During this period he tried to compromise with his wife as he felt the need of mother for his daughter. Surriya agreed and back to home for her husband and daughter and they started to live together. After three months Ayub went back to Masqat for his job. Samina and her mother Surriya were living with her aunt Bina Bibi at her servant’s quarter. Samina was still working at Cheema’s house to help her aunt when she was kidnapped. Therefore Ayub Masih and Surriya Bibi approached CLAAS for legal help and assistance and wanted to register an FIR against the alleged kidnapper and also want their daughter back.
CLAAS filed habeas corpus petition for the recovery of Samina Bibi (given Muslim name as Fatima Bibi) and also filed a petition for the registration of FIR & fair and impartial investigation. After registration CLAAS also contested the pre-arrest bail of Ali Akbar and the court dismissed his bail. Instead of supporting parents Samina Bibi (given Muslim name as Fatima Bibi) filed a writ petition on July 28, 2010 for Quashment (cancellation) of FIR registered by her parents against her husband Ali Akbar, which was quashed in her favor on August 05, 2010. Later Samina Bibi (given Muslim name as Fatima Bibi) also recorded her statement in which she admitted that she is living with Ali Akbar, her husband with her own will and her parents are harassing her. Therefore the court ordered to the parents that Samina Bibi (given Muslim name as Fatima Bibi) and her husband Akbar Ali shall not be subjected to any harassment.
5- Uzma Bibi
Ms. Uzma d/o Babar Sardar, a Christian by faith and resident of Gulberg, Lahore abducted by her Muslim neighbored Vicky Butt s/o Majeed Butt along with three of his accomplice on April 08, 2010. According to Babar Sardar and his wife Maria Bibi (victim’s father and mother) they are only Christian family living among the Muslim masses at the locality. They usually worshiped together on the daily basis in the morning. While the neighbored Muslim families always tried to stop them from worship and claimed as they were disturbed due to their noise. Maria further told CLAAS that about a week before the said incident, there was a cross conversation took place between her elder son Chand aged 20 with Vicky aged 22 s/o Majeed Butt neighbored over some religious issues. Finally Vicky said to Chand, “Stop to worship loudly, because their loud voice of worship always disturbing them”. Chand replied that “how he can object them from worshiping as it is their fundamental right to offer prayers according to their religion or belief. In addition Chand come back with him that Muslim’s Mollana (the prayer leader in a mosque) through loud speaker disturbs everyone five times daily in a day when they offer their prayers. After hearing these remarks Vicky became furious and threatened Chand for dire consequences. Maria Bibi further stated that on April8, 2010, at about 11:00 p.m. Babar was out of home for some urgent work and her sons were also out for visit to some relatives. Vicky entered her house forcefully along with his three other Muslim friends armed with deadly weapons and started breaking and shattering the house belongings while Vicky started misbehaving with her and threatens that if she will tell anybody they will shoot to death all family. Vicky also made a taunt and said that now “call your God for help to whom you worship loudly and regularly, if he can save you, for whom you are disturbing others”. Finally Vicky holds Uzma aged 15 and forced her on gun point to walk off with them Maria told CLAAS.
Uzma started shouting and refused to go with Vicky, but he began to beat dragged and abducted her forcibly. She was helpless and could nothing to do for her daughter’s safety, immediately she made a telephone call to her husband Babar and shared the whole incident. Babar rushed to home and went to Vicky’s house for his daughter back but found the house was locked. Babar approached Vicky’s paternal uncle Hafiz Butt and told him that Vicky and his friends have abducted his daughter Uzma on gun point. Hafiz Butt informed Babar Sardar that his daughter has embraced Islam on April 09, 2010. Babar was shocked and become very disappointed, he requests to Hafiz please not convert his daughter in to Islam and returned her back to him but Hafiz ignored his requests prayer and kicked Babar out from the house. Babar told CLAAS that when they again went to Hafiz Butt in the morning and asked about their daughter, he said that now she is a Muslim and has no connection with Churra’s (a specific word Muslims use for Christians to show their hatred for them) her Christian parents or family, why they are demanding her back. According to Babar, he and his wife had been asking for several times to Hafiz Butt and his brother Majeed Butt (Vicky’s father) repeatedly to meet their daughter. Instead of meeting of the aggrieved family with their daughter the accused person also invited the aggrieved parents to embrace Islam and forced them that embracing Islam is only way for them to meeting with their daughter. Babar also told CLAAS that the last time he went with his wife to Hafiz Butt and humbly requested that they wish to visit their daughter once if she will tell them that she is Muslim by her own will, they will never come again to visit her, but Hafiz become aggressive and made a call to a Molvi (religious leader) to convert Babar and Maria in to Islam forcibly. Babar said to Hafiz that they are strong believers of “Jesus Christ” and would like to die rather than to embrace Islam. According to Babar Sardar he also approached police station to get registered a case of kidnapping as well as forced conversion of his daughter, against Vicky and his family. But police did not ready to entertain me and not interested to take any legal action against that accused Muslim family without bribe money of Rs. 20,000/- PKR rupees registration of the case. Babar Sardar said he was helpless to manage the demanded amount because he is a poor.
Finally Babar Sardar and his wife Maria Bibi approached CLAAS for legal assistance regarding the recovery of their daughter from the custody of Muslims and requested for the registration of kidnapping and forced conversion cases against Vicky and other coaccused. CLAAS filed a Habeas Corpus Petition for the recovery of Uzma Bibi in the High Court Lahore on April 30, 2010. The court deputed a bailiff for the recovery of Uzma from the illegal custody of Vicky and others. Bailiff raided on the given address but bailiff was failed to recover her because the victim was not present at the mentioned address. Then court ordered strictly to bailiff to produce Vicky’s mother in the court. Vicky’s mother gave her statement to the honorable court that since the incident took place she is totally disconnected with her son. She also said that she was not in the favor of her son Vicky to kidnap Uzma and keep her in custody. Therefore I never peruse him where he is living and what he is doing. On her statement court dismissed Habeas petition and allow her to go back to home with honor. After the dismissal of the Habeas Corpus Petition the family did not contact CLAAS.
Saira Bibi aged 20 d/o Pervaiz Masih (late) Christian by faith and resident of Lahore, forcedly kidnapped, raped, forcedly converted into Islam and forced for marriage by her neighbored. According to Saira, her father expired few years ago and she along with her three brothers living with her widow mother. She was working in Al-Shifa Hospital, Lahore and helping the family while her three brothers are working as laborers. Saira Bibi engaged with Nasir Masih and their marriage fixed for the month of October 2010. Muhammad Akhtar s/o Sher Muhammad her neighbored kept bad eye on her, teased and whenever she crossed from the street he passed dirty remarks against her. Muhammad Akhtar wished to have friendship and illicit relations with her. On March 10, 2010, on the day of the incident at around 03:00am, Muhammad Akhtar, along with his accomplice namely Muhammad Munir and Muhammad Umar, illegally and forcefully entered in her house and the accused persons were fully equipped with deadly weapons. Muhammad Akhtar threatened and warned to put their hands up and if any body tried to raise noise or try to do anything against them they will kill.
Afterwards Muhammad Akhtar forced Saira to come with him but she refused to go along with him. Muhammad Akhtar forcibly pulled her towards him, took her and also warned her for dire consequences and that if she will refuse to go along with him he will kill all of them. All the accused persons brutally gave severe beatings to her mother Fazilat Bibi and her brothers. They finally put state their guns on their heads and warned Saira that if she will not go along with them they will kill her mother and brother and later forcibly abducted her and took her at some unknown palace. The accused persons inhumanly gang raped and on the same day Muhammad Akhtar forcedly converted her into Islam and on gunpoint he got married with her under Islamic rites. Obviously the victim family tried their level best to find Saira but all in vain. On July 05, 2010 Saira luckily escaped from the illegal custody of the accused Muhammad Akhtar, reached at her parent’s home and narrated the whole story. Without delaying the same day she along with her mother approached CLAAS for legal assistance. CLAAS filed a suit for dissolution of marriage on behalf of Saira Bibi in the civil court through Mr. Tanvir M. Gill advocate of High Court (legal advisor CLAAS) on July 07, 2010. The case is under court proceedings.
Reported by CLAAS Pakistan, Email: email@example.com