Discouragement and hope in cases of kidnapping
A 15-year-old young Christian girl, kidnapped and victim of sexual slavery, becomes pregnant
By John Pontifex and Massimiliano Tubani for ACN International
Translation and adaptation by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada Information
The lawyer of the young girl’s family declared to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “Huma became pregnant because of sexual slavery and is not allowed to leave.”
Abassum Yousaf, an attorney at the High Court of Sindh—the Pakistani province which has as capital the city of Karachi—is currently representing the parents of Huma Younus, a young Catholic of 15 kidnapped in October 2019, by one Abdul Jabbar, and forced to convert to Islam. In conversations with ACN, the attorney revealed major news about the personal and judicial circumstance of the adolescent.
“Huma called her parents and informed them that she had become pregnant because of the forced sexual slavery she suffered. Following a request from her father to leave the house of the kidnappers and come home, the minor responded that she was not allowed to leave and that her life was becoming more and more difficult for she is locked in a room,” reported Tabassum Yousaf.
Recently, the brother of the abductor, one Mukhtiar Jabbar, employing a security force, threatened Huma “He called Huma’s parents through videoconferencing and, showing them weapons, threatened them saying that he would kill them if they attempted to find their daughter. Mukhtiar also added, this time by an audio message, that if all the Christians unite together to retrieve Huma, he would kill the parents and all who try to help them.”
Hearing was supposed to be on July 13
On a judicial level, the lawyer representing Huma’s family explained, the Tribunal of First Instance Third Judicial Magistrate di Karachi East summarily dismissed the case for lack of evidence. A call was deposed with the same judge requesting a new review of the legal evidence, and the magistrate consulted the public prosecutor, NADRA, in order to obtain the adolescent’s birth certificate. The next audience was scheduled for July 13, 2020. The attorney of the young girl’s parents had, however, already provided during one of the audiences, two official documents attesting to the age of the young minor: a schooling certificate, and a baptismal certificate from the Catholic parish of Saint James in Karachi. The two documents are proof of Huma’s date of birth: May 22, 2005.
As for the High Court of Sindh, it is still closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and is likely to reopen in August. Only later will an audience be scheduled with the same Court.
A Race Against the Clock
The kidnapper, Abdul Jabbar’s attorney, explains Huma’s attorney, aims to gain time by taking advantage of all the judicial arguments for in three years the adolescent will be 18 and the case, in all probability, will be closed definitely. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, the same that acquitted Asia Bibi, could theoretically examine and judge the case in very little time, but the radical Islamic society of Pakistan will not allow the judicial system to be autonomous. Furthermore, when religious freedom is in play, there is a tendency to procrastinate for it is not considered as an urgent priority. The aforementioned case Bibi case represents an eloquent precedent from this point of view.
Concerning the development of the type of act to which Huma was victim, attorney Tabassum Yousaf reports that numerous Non-Governmental Organizations provide estimates as to cases registered and reported to the public, but indicate that not all are reported “therefore, according to my reading based on the experience, there are 2,000 similar cases per year, recorded and unrecorded,” she esteems.
According the attorney of Huma’s family, “a differed justice is a refused justice, thus all delays in the decisions concerning the rights of religious minorities present a denial of these rights. The tribunal has delayed and continues to delay justice in favour of Huma simply because she is a Christian minor. If a similar case took place and concerned a Muslim minor, efforts would be made by all authorities.
I am sure, as an attorney, that the president of the Supreme Court of Pakistan could guarantee justice for the parents of the young girl and for Huma for herself. At all other levels inferior to the judicial system, justice for minorities will not be possible,” concludes the attorney bitterly.
The Grand Mufti’s Fatwa of Hope
A Christian family in Pakistan fighting for the return of a 14-year-old girl reportedly abducted from her home have had their hopes rise after the Grand Mufti of a local mosque issued a fatwa.
Finally, ACN has learned that Muhammad Asad Ali Rizvi Efi, the Grand Mufti, issued the Islamic ruling on behalf of the Sunni Rizvi Jammah Mosque, Jhung Bazar (city of Faisalabad) condemning as false (batil) a marriage certificate produced in court by Mohamad Nakash, who claims he is legally wedded to the abducted girl, Maira Shahbaz, another young kidnapped girl.
Faisalabad Magistrates’ Court had decided in Mr Nakash’s favour, back in May but Maira’s family hope the Grand Mufti’s intervention will be crucial in an appeal hearing to be held at Lahore High Court.
Speaking from her home in Madina Town, near Faisalabad, Maira’s mother, Nighat Shahbaz, told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Catholic charity for persecuted Christians that she was longing for her daughter’s return.