Pakistan: Catholic Girl’s Forced Conversion Case Arrives In Court

Fides reports that the case of Farah Hatim, the Catholic girl kidnapped and forced into conversion to marry a Muslim man in the city of Rahim Yar Khan in southern Punjab, Pakistan is now scheduled before the High Court in Multan.

Fides also reports that Paul Bhatti, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Religious Minorities Affairs in Pakistan and leader of APMA (All Pakistan Minorities Alliance) had attempted mediation with the Muslim family who has been keeping Farah.

The attempt failed (see Fides 07/07/2011) because the family did not appear and the first instances Court had "consider the case closed". APMA has with Farah’s family approval appealed to the High Court in Multan.

Bhatti tells Fides, "We had no choice. Given the stubborn attitude of the Muslim family, we want justice to go ahead and that Farah can express herself: this is why we have sent lawyers to lodge an appeal to the High Court". The High Court has the power to transfer Farah for a period of time to the "Darul Aman" ("House of Peace"), a governmental institute that houses battered or kidnapped women. APMA lawyers prefers Farah to be transferred to Darul Aman to avoid the possibility of her "disappearing".

Fides also reports that Fr. Yousaf Emmanuel, Director of the "Justice and Peace Commission" of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, has welcomed this step, insisting that "the Church of Pakistan, which in the past saved and deals with protecting many young Christian girls, is close to Farah and her family, and intends to give all possible support for a happy ending to this sad event ".

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