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Mussarat Mushtaq is praying for the release of her daughter.
On Thursday 12th May 2016, A 24 year old Christian woman was kidnapped whilst returning home from Exel Education School, an adult learning college in Bihar Colony, Lahore. Only few months earlier, Maryam Mushtaq had decided to go to college to help her family out of poverty by educating herself that she might be able to earn a higher wage. She was undertaking a very basic level Matriculation education (GCSE standard) and was hoping to progress onto further education for an eventual full-time career in teaching.
Abductee Maryam Mushtaq
At approximately 13:30 whilst she was walking back to Kot Lakhpat, liaquatabad with her younger brother Romail Mushtaq (11 years) and Maryam was force fully grabbed by two Muslim men with their faces covered with masks. The abductors bundled Maryam into the back of a white Toyota Corrola, Licence plate LEA -5393. The men hurled abuse at young Romail and threatened violence if he intervened and the young man simply froze in fear. However two men on motorcycles saw the abduction and chased the vehicle but sadly the kidnappers escaped.
Mussarat Mushtaq (53 years), mother of Maryam reported the abduction to local police at Liaquatabad Police Station and they registered a first incident report (FIR). Police initiated an investigation on the license plate of the vehicle and then phoned the owner. After two days on 14th May 2016 Police called Mussarat to the police station explained to the family that Maryam had been married to a 32 year old Muslim man Muhammad Ali and showed certificates of Maryam's marriage to her. Cases like this are normally rejected outright however due to a number of witnesses having observed the crime, it seems Police had no option but to register a crime.
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Mussarat, spoke to BPCA reporter Shamim Masih, she said:
"Three years ago my husband died of cancer, two years ago Maryam's sister died. Now kidnappers have taken away my daughter, I am devastated. Maryam was a good intelligent hard working girl, she went back to college to improve her chances for employment so that she could support her family. The kidnappers have destroyed her future. Maryam had a good relationship with her brother Romail and remaining sister Khusboo (23 years), they would know if she had been interested in this man. None of them have ever even seen him before. Maryam like the rest of us attends church every week there is no way she would give up her whole life and salvation to marry a Muslim man. Jesus has always been the centre of her life."
Shamim Masih met with the local Police, he met the investigating officer Mohammed Razaq, who told him that police were taking this kidnap case very seriously. Shamim said:
"Police are following through on a kidnap and forced marriage charges and are bringing Maryam and Muhammed Ali to the local court in the next few days, for an initial hearing. However Maryam has not been removed from the clutches of Muhammed Ali and it is feared she will be coerced into stating she is in a lawful marriage. The fact that she has been found so quickly is advantageous as the pressure applied by the abductors will be minimal, moreover the daylight abduction yielded a number of material witnesses."
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
"Yet again an innocent Christian girl has been kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriage. We do not know the depravity or the brutality she has had to face but her entrapment will have a sordid edge to it no doubt. Police have responded relatively quickly, but had to in circumstances of a traumatic daylight abduction that was witnessed by many. The abductors are known and yet the girl still has not been returned to the family and it is feared that corrupt police could collude with the kidnappers if bribed significantly. A justice system that does not permit the release of an abductee to her family is indicative of a flawed and failing rule of law. May God grant this poor woman freedom and a chance to fulfil her ambition of becoming a teacher, where she might be able to teach love and hope where so much cruelty exists."
The family have requested help with legal counsel for Maryam and a safe relocation while the lethargic legal process of Pakistan, slowly proceeds. The BPCA would like to assist but will need to raise a budget for this. The initial solicitors fee will be £400 and a safe house for 3 months will be in the region of £300 per month. We have initiated an appeal to hep raise these funds for the family. If you would like to help with a donation please click (here)
Sign our petition calling for better protection of Pakistani Christian women and girls (click here)
Brother in law of Maryam, Zain Maish with Mussarat Mushtaq
The sign on the house of the Mushtaq Family
ID card for the kidnapper Muhammad Ali
Request for investigation of kidnap submitted by Mushtaq Family (address and telephone numbers removed)