Pakistan: Stolen Daughter

Parents demand answers after girl is kidnapped and reportedly raped
2001This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.
At midnight on February 11, someone rang the doorbell at the home of Catholic Pakistanis Clemence Masih and his wife, Parmela. They groggily opened their front door to a horrifying scene—between seven and ten men were forcing their 14-year-old daughter, Naira Nadia, into one of two waiting cars, which sped off into the darkness.

Despite the darkness, the parents recognized one of the men as Maqsood Ahmed, 40, a Muslim moneylender and the father of one of Naira's classmates. The parents and 15 other Christians from their neighborhood in Miriam-a-bad (Sheikhupura district, near Lahore) rushed to Ahmed's house in a neighboring village. It was locked and empty.

Clemence Masih returned to that village the next day. "[Ahmed] has your daughter, but she is converted to Islam," Ahmed's relatives told him. "Now we cannot help you."

They added, "Your girl is no longer a virgin."

Heartsick, the parents went to a police station, but authorities refused to take any action. Within three days, the parents received a certificate in the mail claiming that Naira, who had actively talked about Jesus and the Bible with fellow students at her Catholic school, had converted to Islam.

"We want to give this message, that in Pakistan these incidents are happening with Christians due to their faith," the parents said in an e-mail interview. "So if the Christians around the world will feel the same pain [that] the Pakistani Christians have, then the sorrows of Christians can be shared. We also wish [for] no other daughter or Christian sister [to] be targeted like our daughter."

A 1985 Pakistani law called the "Marriage Act," passed under the military dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq, says that if a non-Muslim woman converts to Islam, her previous marriage is null ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
September
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
More from this IssueRead This Issue
Read These Next
close