A Christian girl, Maha, who was kidnapped from her home a few weeks ago has been recovered and reunited with her family.
The 12-year-old was kidnapped by her neighbour Muhammad Akmal and his mother. She is the youngest of five siblings and has two brothers and two sisters. Her two brothers work with their father at the brick kiln factory and her two sisters work with their mother as domestic servants. As the youngest, she stays at home.
Her neighbours knew this and took advantage of the situation.
On 18 July when Akmal knew that Maha was alone at home, along with his mother knocked on her door and when she asked who was there, Akmal’s mother replied saying it was her neighbour and she had something to give the young girl, sent by your mother.
As soon as she opened the door, Akmal’s mother grabbed her and pushed her into a rickshaw (three-wheeler vehicle) and went away.
Maha said in a statement: “It was so sudden and I couldn’t understand what was going on. Akmal’s mother puts her hand on my mouth and threatened me, saying ‘don’t shout otherwise we will kill your brothers’.
“I had failed to understand the situation and I didn't know what to do, I feared for my brothers because I love them so much.”
“After some time they stopped the rickshaw at an unknown place and told me to get off.
“They took me inside a house where a few people were already present. Akmal told me to put a thumbprint on a few papers, and I didn’t know what they were.
“Later he told me ‘I have married you and you are my wife’. He also said that ‘you are no longer a Christian but a Muslim’.
“I didn't know what to do, I was helpless and started crying because I missed my parents and my brothers and sisters.
I was kept in a room and I didn't even know the address of the house, because I mostly stayed home and was never left alone. I was scared, crying and praying anytime I was alone for my liberation, and yearning to go home.
Asif Masih, Maha's father, said: “When I returned home and could not find Maha, we started looking everywhere, and came to know that Akmal had kidnapped her. I informed our contractor who promised to support me and we both visited the police station in Manawa, Lahore.
“The police filed a report against Akmal and assured me that if the girl was with Akmal's family, then they would find her and bring her back.
“After a few days, the police found my daughter and handed her back to me.
“But they did not take any action against Akmal and now he is threatening me, saying that Maha is Muslim and has married him, therefore she cannot stay with us.”
Asif added: “I am poor and I want nothing other than justice, pray for me and for my family.”