Christian Teenager Escapes Forced Conversion in Lahore; Security Guard Arrested

In a disturbing incident from Lahore's Defense Housing Authority (DHA), a 13-year-old Christian boy, Saim Liaqat Randhawa, narrowly escaped a forced conversion attempt on April 13, 2024. The teen was allegedly accosted and manipulated by a security guard, Qadir Khan, while on his way to a barber shop.

Saim, the son of Liaqat Randhawa, recounted that instead of heading directly to the barbershop near the Baoowala Burki Road, where his family resides, he ventured into DHA. It was there that Khan confronted the young boy, removed his cross necklace, and demanded he accompany him to perform Islamic rituals at a mosque.

The situation escalated when a neighbour, recognizing Saim, intervened, allowing him to momentarily escape the guard's grasp. However, Khan caught up with Saim again, this time drugging him into unconsciousness. The boy was found disoriented near Learning Alliance American School later that evening by local children and subsequently returned to his family.

Randhawa expressed profound distress over the incident, indicating that the guard was later arrested following the family’s complaint, yet police initially hesitated to include charges related to forced religious conversion in the First Information Report (FIR). The FIR, filed late the next evening, also failed to immediately provide a copy to the complainant, raising concerns about procedural delays and potential bias in handling the case.

Aslam Pervez Sahotra, Chairman of the Pakistan Masiha Millat Party, criticized the police's response, noting the lack of specific charges related to the attempted conversion and the delayed medical examination of the boy. He vowed to pursue justice through higher legal avenues to ensure such incidents are addressed with the gravity they deserve.

The community and the Randhawa family are now calling for the Chief Minister of Punjab's intervention to ensure a fair and just resolution to this alarming case, reflecting the broader challenges faced by religious minorities in the region.