Pakistani Archbishop raises alarm of kidnapping and forced conversions of under-age Christian girls
by Fionn Shiner
A surge in under-age Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan being kidnapped, raped and forced to marry and convert to Islam has been condemned by one of the country’s leading bishops.
In an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore confirmed reports of abductions involving girls as young as 14, acts he condemned as “a crime”.
His comments come amid research in Pakistan’s Punjab Province stating that up to 700 girls had been abducted in one year. He said: “Yes, [abductions of under-age girls] are happening” and he added that “there have been many kidnappings recently.”
“Kidnapping is a crime. It has to be treated as one. This is the only way to stop it. The girls are usually 14, 15. The men often already have one wife. They can be 25 or older. They can be younger, more like 20.”
Image: Catholic women with Catechist Babu Ilyas Manga, Lahore, Pakistan. Photographer: Reinhard Backes. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.