14-year-old Christian girl in forced marriage and conversion case on the run after fleeing husband

Published 28 August 2020  |  
(Photo: Aid to the Church in Need)
Maira Shahbaz

A 14-year-old Christian girl who says she was kidnapped at gunpoint, and forced to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man is on the run after fleeing from his home.

Maira Shahbaz is in hiding with her mother and three siblings after escaping from the home of Mohamad Nakash in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

The Catholic teenager says she was pressured into signing blank papers that were then used by Nakash to prove her conversion to Islam.

Maira has gone to the police to say that she was filmed while being raped by Nakash. She says that he has threatened to kill her and her family, and release the video online.

Family friend Lala Robin Daniel told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that Maira is having to move to a new place every few days.

"Maira is traumatised. She cannot speak. We want to take her to the doctor but we are afraid we might be spotted," Daniel said.

"We are all very frightened but we place our trust in God."

In her police statement, seen by ACN, Maira says she was drugged and raped.

"I found myself at an unknown place where the accused forced me to have a glass of juice that contained some intoxicant," she said.

"I was semi-conscious at that moment and the accused raped me forcefully and also filmed me naked. When I came to my senses, I started shouting and requesting them to release me...

"They threatened to murder my whole family. They have also shown me my naked video and pictures which they have taken on their mobile while raping me."

She continues: "My life was at stake in the hands of the accused and... Nakash repeatedly raped me forcefully."

Nakash claims Maira willfully converted and married him, and has called for the arrest of her mother, uncles and Daniel, alleging that they abducted the girl from his home.

Maira's family launched a legal challenge to overturn the marriage and conversion, producing a birth certificate showing her to be 13 at the time of her marriage to Nakash last October. But three weeks ago, the Lahore High Court ruled in Nakash's favour and deemed him to be her husband in the eyes of the law.

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