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Arzoo, Ali and police officers - Photo: Sindh government
Arzoo (second from the left) and Ali Azhar (far right) with police in Karachi, Pakistan.
Photo: Sindh government

According to Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, the Sindh High Court has ordered that Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian girl, be recovered by police and moved into a shelter. This comes almost a month after she was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married against her will to a 44-year-old Muslim neighbour.

This recent update comes as a positive development for Arzoo's parents and the legal team fighting to have her returned to her family. According to their lawyer, Arzoo will be brought before the court on November 5th and will have her age determined through medical testing prior to the hearing. In the interim, Ali Azhar, her alleged kidnapper, has been arrested and charged with abduction, forced conversion, and marriage to a minor.

On October 13th, Arzoo was abducted by Azhar from her family home in Karachi. The girl's parents reported the incident to local police but were informed two days later that their daughter had converted to Islam and married Azhar. The parents have since challenged the validity of the marriage, claiming that it violates the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. However, on October 27th, the High Court of Sindh ruled in favour of the marriage, applying an interpretation of Sharia law which allows for underage marriages.

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, including reports of similar incidents involving young teens, go to our country report.

With thanksgiving, we praise God for this positive court action, resulting in the rescue of Arzoo from her captor and the provision of a safe shelter. Pray that God will render justice by delivering this young teen girl from the unlawful marriage. In the meantime, may Arzoo experience the Lord's reassuring love and peace, along with needed healing from the repercussions of the horrific incident. Please remember the many other Christian girls in Pakistan who have been victimized in similar situations. While advocating both legally and spiritually for those contending with such injustices, may our Heavenly Father rescue the lost souls in this divided country by conveying to them His life-changing message of salvation.

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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