A 15-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage is now pregnant. Her captor and abuser has confined her to a single room, a lawyer representing the teenager’s family said.
Tabassum Yousaf, the attorney advocating for 15-year-old Huma Younus, said the teenager told her parents over the phone about her pregnancy. Younus informed her mom and dad that her abductor had repeatedly raped her.
Younus also told her parents that her “husband” by forced marriage is confining her to a single room.
“Asked by her father if she could leave her abductor’s house and return to her parents home, she told him that she is not allowed to leave the house and that her life has become still more difficult,” Yousaf explained. “She is now imprisoned within the walls of one room.”
On October 10, 2019, Younus was abducted from her home in Karachi, at 14 years old. She was later forcibly married to a radical Muslim named Abdul Jabbar and was told to “convert” to Islam.
According to Yousaf, Jabbar’s brother, Mukhtiar is a member of the Pakistani security forces’ Rangers branch. He has threatened to kill Younus if her parents try to intervene or rescue her.
“This man has contacted Huma’s parents via video telephone calls and threatened them directly. He showed them his weapons and told them he would kill them if ever they should come looking for their daughter,” Yousaf said.
“This same man, Mukhtiar, has added in audio messages that even if all the Christians should band together to bring Huma back, he would kill both her parents and anyone who tried to help them.”
Younus’ parents have officially declared the marriage between their daughter and her captor as invalid. Under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, she is not old enough to consent to the marriage.
The Third Judicial Magistrate for Karachi East had previously considered the parent’s case closed due to insufficient evidence. Despite, a sworn statement from their daughter’s school and a baptism certificate which showed her birthdate, the case remained closed.
The family immediately appealed the court’s decision. The magistrates then contacted Pakistan’s official public records to obtain the girl’s birth certificate. Although the parents’ case was set to be heard last Monday, the court has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The family’s attorney says Jabbar’s lawyer is using legal maneuvers to further suspend the case. Since Pakistan is a Muslim country, a long delay for court cases involving religious minorities isn’t uncommon.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. Every delay in reaching judgement on the defense of the rights of religious minorities represents a denial of these rights. “The court has delayed and continues to delay justice on behalf of Huma, solely because she is an underage Christian girl.”
Yousaf added that if Younus was a Muslim girl, authorizes would have acted “immediately.”
“As a lawyer, I am certain that the president of the Pakistani Supreme Court could grant justice to the parents of the girl and to Huma herself,” Yousaf added. “However, at every other lower level of the judicial system justice for the minorities will not be possible.”