When Christians are victims of forced marriage: the courts often turn a blind eye.

6.1.2024

Muskan’s captor claimed she was 19 and the marriage was consensual. VoC helped bring justice and reunite the 15-year-old with her parents.

 

Pakistan had 138 reported cases of forced marriage last year. This number is likely just a small portion of the total incidents of this horrific practice. This practice goes against the true teachings of both the Christian faith and the Muslim faith which promote consent and mutual respect in all relationships. It’s disheartening to see young girls being robbed of their basic human rights and forced into marriage.

And one of them is Muskan Elisia … 

Muskan is a 15-year-old girl who was raised in a Christian family in Pakistan. She was abducted on November 11, 2023, at around 3:00 AM by a 22-year-old Muslim man named Arsalan Ali. Arsalan lived in her neighborhood and reportedly had made previous advances attempting to coerce her to enter into an illicit relationship with him. The family was held hostage at gunpoint by Arsalan’s accomplices while he forced Muskan into his vehicle.

 

Muskan and her mother were reunited after VoC pressed charges.

 

Muskan’s father, Salman, filed crime report no. 33/2024 at the local police station, however, the police remained reluctant in making any efforts to recover Muskan. The family remained desperate to retrieve their daughter but, as a Christian family, their pleas fell on deaf ears. 

 

On March 19, 2024, Arsalan filed a petition before the High Court of Sindh-Hyderabad Bench alleging that Muskan was 19 years old and had voluntarily converted to Islam and married him. The High Court without making any enquiry legitimized the illegal conversion and marriage and barred the police from arresting Arsalan.

 

After hearing about VoC, The family approached VoC’s legal analyst Luke Victor who, along with his legal team consisting of Barrister Fahad Hussain, Barrister Rafique Ahmed, and Advocate Jai Kumar, are now representing Salman before the High Court and the Magistrate’s Court. 

 

The High Court has referred the case for decision to the local Magisterial Court which, after VoC’s legal team’s successful pleadings and arguments, has directed the police to recover and produce Muskan before the Court. However, the police being prejudiced on religious grounds unlawfully supported Arsalan and submitted a botched investigation report before the Court exonerating Arsalan of the charge of abduction, and claiming that they were unable to trace Arsalan’s and Muskan’s whereabouts.

VoC’s legal team after receiving news that the courts would hold Arsalan accountable.

 

Upon private investigation, VoC’s legal team has been able to trace Muskan’s whereabouts and successfully rescue her and reunite her with her family.

 

Please pray for Muskan as she exits this forced marriage, and begins to heal from the trauma she endured. Please pray for her faith and trust in Jesus to only grow stronger despite this persecution she endured. We cannot allow a crime like this to go unpunished, or it will set the stage for future similar acts to escape justice. Future legal recourse is being adopted now and we will continue to pursue this case to the full extent of the law. 

 

Thanks to our generous donors, girls like Muskan have a voice in this dark world. Please pray for her and all the girls across the world facing the reality of forced marriage today.

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