Community Outcry in Tando Ghulam Ali Over Forced Conversion and Abduction of Teenage Christian Girl

In Tando Ghulam Ali, a small town located 70 kilometers from Hyderabad, Sindh, the community is reeling from the shocking news of the alleged abduction and forced conversion of Muskan Masih, a 15-year-old Christian girl. Muskan, a resident of Masih Mohalla, disappeared under mysterious circumstances on the night of March 11. Her father, Salman Masih, reports that she was a student in seventh grade at a local school.

The family's quest for answers and justice is met with frustration and heartbreak. "She is my only daughter, and despite reaching out to our Catholic church for help, she remains missing," Salman lamented. Muskan's mother, Afshan, is holding onto hope for her daughter's safe return. "We will forgive her and ensure she is married with dignity and respect," she stated.

The initial response from the local police was dismissive, adding to the family's distress. The seriousness of Muskan's case is compounded by the Sindh Marriage Act's regulations, which stipulate a two-year sentence for any child under 18 involved in forced religious conversion issues.

Advocate Ramesh Gupta emphasizes the importance of legal recourse, especially for minors as young as 13 or 14, to combat forced religious conversions, a phenomenon often overlooked in rural areas. "Girls are being coerced into marriages without their consent, leading to significant health risks and violating their rights," he stated.

The local community's frustration is palpable due to the apparent indifference of law enforcement. They suspect Arsalan Khaskhali and his accomplices to be involved in the case. According to police reports, Muskan was coerced into marrying Arsalan following an alleged conversion to Islam at a local madrassah.

The incident has heightened tensions and raised urgent demands for justice from the community. Authorities are under increasing pressure to act swiftly and effectively to resolve Muskan's case and prevent further instances of religious coercion and abduction. This tragic situation not only highlights the vulnerability of religious minorities in Pakistan but also underscores the need for stronger legal protections and enforcement to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of young girls in the country.