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Sana's family (further images at bottom of page)
A Christian girl from New Miana Pura Roras Road, Sikandarpura, near Sialkot, has joined the growing list of adolescents to have been forcibly converted to Islam and then married to a Muslim man.
An FIR was registered in Hajipura police station on Monday 9th November 2015, by Sana's father Mr Shahid Jaan, 47, reporting that Sana Bibi, 13, had been abducted, raped and forced into Islamic marriage by a Muslim, Waheed Akhtar, and currently an investigation is underway.
Sana and her sister Hina were studying at Government Primary Girls School, Mianpura, and attended the same class. In total there are three sisters
and three brothers in the family.
On the day of the incident Hina was accompanying Sana on her way to school, a trip they had always undertaken together. On the way they were met by Mr Akhtar, known locally as 'Rambo' Mr Akhtar knew the girls as he had previously lived in the house to the rear of their former home. Mr Akhtar started talking to Sana and asked Hina to carry on going to school advising her that he would make sure her sister arrived there safely. As the girls knew Mr Akhtar, Hina carried on travelling to school not thinking any bad of the situation. After school Hina waited for her sister who she then discovered had not arrived. Terrified and concerned for her sister Hina ran back home and informed her family. Sana's mother, Nosheen, 42, and her paternal aunt went to Mr Akhtar's home which they knew well. They knocked on the door but there was no response, so they waited for two hours and then returned home anxious and distraught. The women simply began to pray asking for God to intervene in the situation and awaited arrival of the father, as in Pakistan's patriarchal society men are required to get a decent response from local police.
When the father Shahid Jaan, a poorly paid labourer, returned home he was very shocked to hear of his daughter's abduction. He immediately travelled to Mr Akhtar's home with Main Zubair, a local Muslim elder, to demand the return of his daughter. Again he was met with no reponse at the door so he called the local police who arrived immediately and forcibly entered Mr Akhtar's home. They found only children in the home and on questioning none of the children gave away the location of Mr Akhtar.
Shahid Jaan, said:
“The shock of this debilitating news made my legs tremble. My innocent vulnerable girls were walking together for their safety, a trip they undertake so often, but this evil man was waiting for them. Waheed Akhtar used his familiarity with my girls to take advantage of them and satisfy his predatory and perverse nature. He took the elder of my daughters by force and Hina my younger daughter came running back home from school, alone and traumatised. We have visited Waheed Akhtar’s house as he and his father are well known local butchers and lived behind our old home. When the family refused to open their door I went to the police station and registered a complaint. I am praying for my daughter's safety and return every moment I can now.”
Assistant Sub Inspector Muhammad Ashraf who is lead officer for this investigation informed our chief reporter Shamim Masih that police had conducted some raids to recover the girl:
“The lawyer of the accused has contacted us by phone and sent a written request as well. He has told us that they have got pre-arrest bails from the court and would join the investigation on Monday. We have been advised that the alleged victim is 15 years old and that she first converted to Islam and then married Waheed."
Ashraf explained that local police were being extremely cooperative and immediately registered 'First Incident Reports' (FIR) against five suspects on receipt of Shahid Jaan's complaint. However since the registering of the case police impetus now seems to have waned.
On Tuesday Mr Akhtar called the family and threatened them. He said:
‘’I have married to your girl and she is Muslim now so whatever you want to do you can do. The law is on my side as I am a Muslim and you are just kaffir".
Mr Jaan has confirmed to the BPCA that Sana was born April 17, 2002, which means she is under the legal age of consent for marriage, which currently stands at 14 years in Pakistan. He further explained that Sana's age can be confirmed via her NADRA (ID Card) as well as the maintained school record.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chair of the BPCA, said:
"This attack reinforces the report by Muslim NGO 'Movement of Solidarity and Peace' who stated 700 Christian girls are forcibly converted into Islam by rapists, that use Sharia Law to act with impunity. Sadly these cases go to Sharia Courts where Christian lawyers are not allowed to defend victims and Muslim lawyers notoriously provide shallow prosecution services meaning Sana is more than likely going to remain in an abusive relationship for the rest of her life. The majority of the girls abducted in this way are around 12 years of age, so laws regarding the legal age of consensual marriage could save a large proportion of victims, however failures by the government to enforce these laws suggests that passion for justice is non-existential."