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Maira Shahbaz and Saneha Kinza Iqbal - Photo of Saneha (on right): Church in Chains - www.churchinchains.ie
Maira Shahbaz and Saneha Kinza Iqbal
Photo of Saneha (on right): Church in Chains

On April 28th, 14-year-old Maira Shahbaz (also referenced as "Maria") had been abducted at gunpoint by Mohamad Nakash and his two accomplices while she was walking to her home near Faisalabad. She was then forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor. The teen girl's parents challenged the validity of the marriage but Mohamad presented a marriage certificate falsely stating that Maira was 19 years old. The kidnapper has also issued death threats against Maira and her family if they continued to pursue this action.

On July 30th, a court ruled that Maira should be allowed to stay in a women's shelter until the Lahore High Court was able to hear her case. However, on August 4th, the High Court judge ruled that the conversion and marriage were legal. She was ordered to remain with Mohamad and "be a good wife." The court disregarded her birth certificate and baptismal certificate, which indicated her true age. Following this ruling, Maira was reportedly in tears. A friend and advocate stated, "With this ruling, no Christian girl in Pakistan is safe."

According to the most recent reports, Maira has managed to escape her captor and is now in hiding somewhere in the Faisalabad area, along with her mother and siblings. The police have reportedly been ordered by the courts to ensure her security.

On July 22nd, 15-year-old Saneha Kinza Iqbal was kidnapped on her way to church by Saeed Amanat, a 30-year-old married man with four children. Saeed is a security guard at a hospital in Faisalabad where Shaneha's mother was admitted for treatment in June. During this time, he became familiar with the young girl, finding out where she lived.

When Saneha did not return home after prayers that morning, a neighbour confirmed seeing Saeed in a vehicle with her. Although the girl's family reported the incident to police, the officials refused to take any action. Saneha's brother, Waseem Morris, then went to Saeed's home where the abductor's father promised that Saneha would be returned, but a few days later he changed his mind. On July 28th, the kidnapper phoned the young girl's family, threatening them if they took any further action.

While Saneha's fate is not known at this point, her family is concerned that she will be forcibly converted to Islam and married, similar to the situations facing Maira and another young teen girl, Huma Younus, whose case was previously reported by VOMC earlier this year (read more). Despite the efforts of Maira's family to have action taken, police refused to cooperate with them until August 19th.

Please lift up Maira, Saneha, Huma, and other previously abducted Christian girls, to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to mightily intervene by rendering His justice in each of their cases. Ask that He will also provide needed help and consolation to their distraught families. Pray that God's ministering angels will surround each of these girls, their loved ones, and all who courageously advocate on their behalf, with divine protection. May His Holy Spirit's conviction be upon the abductors, and all who encourage such crimes against vulnerable teen girls, bringing to light the seriousness of their wrongful actions so they will acknowledge their need for repentance and endeavour to do what is right.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC partners to train Christian women in sewing skills throughout Pakistan to provide a sustainable source of income for their families and encourage them in their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Population
238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

Leader
President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

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Pakistan News

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