International Christian Concern | August 13, 2020
It is now almost a year since the abduction of 14-year-old Huma Yuonnus. She was taken at gunpoint from her home by a man that her family had trusted for years. She was forcefully converted to Islam, forcefully made to marry her kidnapper. She is now pregnant with her abductors child. While her family desperately seeks to bring her back home, the justice system continues to either side with the abductor or delay the case in the black hole of Pakistani ‘justice’ system.
The situation is not advancing in a good direction and Huma’s situation continues to worsen. Sadly, her story is just one of literally hundreds of others where young girls from the minority faith communities are abducted, forcefully converted, and forced to marry. One of the tragedies of these cases is the reality that most go unnoticed, unpublicized, and sometimes just ignored. The families of the victims are left in a state of hopelessness knowing that their daughters will most likely never return home as the local authorities will not pursue investigations, let alone justice for the victims and their families.
Much of this due to the fact that Islamic law reigns supreme in Pakistan. The province of Sindh, where Huma’s family lives, clearly defines the age of consent at the age of 18 to protect minors exactly from this kind of abuse. However, in many cases like Huma’s, local clerics and imams often side with the Islamic law, saying that if the teenage girls have had their first menstrual cycle, they are fit to be married. Although this runs contradictory to the established law of the land, in Pakistan, too often the role of Islam overshadows the written law as the deciding factor in such cases.
This reality immediately puts all other faiths at a disadvantage. Christians, for example, live by different principles and by the teachings of Jesus, which are ignored by the Muslim majority community. This automatically sets Christians and other differing faith groups as second class citizens where their rights and freedoms are either ignored, suppressed, or, in many cases, completely nullified.
This context plays at the heart of Huma’s case; because of her Christian faith, she is treated as a lesser Pakistani citizen in the courts.
International Christian Concern will continue to advocate for her case with prayerful hope that she will again be united with her family, and God-willing, be able to marry the man of her choosing. In the coming weeks, ICC will highlight her case with decision-makers and human rights leaders and paint a broader picture of the injustice in Pakistan in regard to forced child marriages.