Image of Muqadas taken recently this year while 15 years old.
A Christian girl was abducted from her home on 17th July 2022 from the village of Haloki in Kasur.
Later it was discovered that Muqadas Labha (15 yrs) was abducted by Muhammad Naveed (35 yrs) from Okara district, 150km away. He had an accomplice name Muhammad Babar (32 yrs) who was also from the same village as Muqadas – Haloki.
Mr Naveed now claims the 15 year old child willingly eloped and has now converted to Islam, a ploy frequently used by Muslims to capture vulnerable Christian girls.
Muqadas was washing dishes in her two room house in which 10 family members lived on 17th July 2022. Muqadas was with her elder sister Mariyam (20 yrs) and her youngest brother Daud (8 yrs). The day had been quite normal until around 4.30pm when Mr Naveed came pushed open the front door of their house which was unlocked which is quite usual for families in rural Pakistan.
Mr Naveed walked straight across to Muqadas and dragged her out of the house where he placed her on his motorcycle at which which his friend Mr Babar also sat behind her, then they rode way.
Maryam Labha spoke with BACA about the abduction, she said:
“When Naveed came to my home I was shocked and confused.
“Fear took over and I grabbed my younger brother Daud who was very frightened.
“I wanted to scream but was too scared and did not know what to do.
“When Muhammad left, I called my father who immediately came home which took 1 hour as he works far away.
“My father and mother went to the local police station as soon as they understood what happened.”
Both parents arrived home close to 5.30 after being called by their daughter and first got a full account from their daughter, before travelling to local police.
When father Labha Masih (54 yrs) and Samina went to the police station to report the abduction, they were asked to come back the next day by officers who seemed to lack any interest in her case.
The next day, Labha and Samina returned to Kahna Police Station and filed an application against Mr Naveed for abducting Muqadas.
Two days later however, on 20th July, the Investigation officer Muhammad Abdul Rasheed finally produced FIR (First Information Report) No.5191/22 against unknown persons for abducting Muqadas under section 365B of Pakistan Penal Code.
|365B.||Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel for marriage etc.-|
Whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced, or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, and shall also he liable to fine; and whoever by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code, or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion, induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall also be punishable as aforesaid.
Police from the outset have been delaying their investigation. Moreover, Labha Masih insists that he has has explicitly stated that his daughter was abducted by Mr Naveed. This important information crucial to the case has been omitted by Kahna Police ‘who may have been bribed by Mr Naveed’, said Labha Masih. Labha Masih, was very close to Mr Naveed ‘who is already married and has four children with his existing wife’, he told BACA.
Labha Masih is not convinced that local police want to help his family and has asked BACA to intervene.
The kidnapper Mr Naveed has a welding workshop in the local area and Asim (14 yrs) the younger brother of Muqadas had been learning welding from him. Mr Naveed was well known by the family, who had up till that point had a very good relationship with him. He would even come to the house uninvited and Muqadas’s mother would prepare food for him. Samina Bibi (52 yrs), mother of Muqadas, said:
“I treated Muhammad like one of my own sons.
“We as a family thought highly of him he seemed generous and kind in giving welding training to my son.
“We had known him for two years and would give him gifts for Eid and he would give us gifts for Christmas and Easter.
“I never thought he harboured so much evil for my family.”
A BACA team visited the family of Muqadas on 28th July to offer help and to pray with them. Labha Masih spoke with our field officer, he said:
“The police are not cooperating with me.
“To me it seems that police are protecting the culprit.
“My daughter is minor and cannot legally marry as she is 15 years of age and a minor.
“Yet police are telling us she is legally married and has converted to Islam.
“I just want my daughter back and have cried since her abduction.”
“It is over a week since Muqadas was kidnapped but police have not yet recovered my daughter.
“Every day she is away from me a piece of me tears away from my soul.
“I pray daily for a return and believe God will bring her back safely to me.
“I have no other hope.”
The same day our BACA officer accompanied by both parents, to police at choki (sub-police station) Haloki where the investigation team are based. There he tried to obtain a progress report, but to our disappointment nothing had further had been done by the police. It was extremely disappointing to see that Mr Naveed and Mr Babar’s names were missing from the FIR report.
Our officer then wrote a subsequent application asserting the inclusion of Mr Naveed and Mr Babar in the FIR and bring him to investigation. The application was authenticated by Labha Masih as the primary applicant.
Our officers have tried to comfort extremely inconsolable parents who are blaming themselves for allowing Muqadas to be abducted, we have also been providing help with communicating with police.
On 2nd August, Labha Masih called our field officer and informed him that someone had posted documents stating that Muqadas had converted to Islam to their home. While crying emotionally on the phone, Labha Masih explained what had happened. He lamented:
“I am afraid that we will not get our daughter back.
“Please help us my daughter is in real danger.
“These men will sell her or kill her after first having their wicked way with my daughter.
“I just want to emancipate Muqadas from her captors please help.”
Juliet Chowdhry, trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“Clearly distraught parents from another Christian household lamenting over the kidnap of their daughter and forced conversion is demoralizing.
“In 2014 Muslim NGO ‘Movement of solidarity and Peace’ estimated that 700 Christian girls are forcibly married after such conversion (click here).
“Despite years of campaigning this despicable crime seems to be increasing in Pakistan – it certainly shows no signs of abatement.
“Muqadas joins a growing list of victims, but with new laws proving to be ineffective hope for a better future wanes to it’s lowest ebb.
“The evident insouciance within local police involved in this particular case, is a poor indictment of the justice system in Pakistan.”
Labha Masih, father of Muqadas works as a mason on daily wages and Samina Bibi works as a sweeper in several houses at Khayban-e-Ameen housing society. They cannot afford a legal advocate and have asked BACA for help but the cost for this will be £1500. If you would like to help us cover the costs to instigate an abduction case (that may also include a rape case) on behalf of the family, then please donate (here).
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