PAKISTAN: Escape from the house of hell
• 14-year-old Maira tells of being drugged, raped and blackmailed
A 14-year-old Christian girl has escaped from the man a High Court in Pakistan ruled to be her husband and has gone to the police to say that she was filmed while by being raped by him.
Maira Shahbaz, her mother, Nighat, and three siblings are on the run from Mohamad Nakash after the Catholic girl from Madina Town, Punjab Province, fled his home in nearby Faisalabad where sources close to the family say she was forced into prostitution.
According to Maira, Mr Nakash has threatened to kill both her and her family.
The Catholic girl refuses to accept her forced conversion from Christianity, which she says she was tricked into doing by being pressured into signing blank papers.
She said her abductors warned that, if she did not comply with their demands, they would publish the video of her being raped online.
In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Lala Robin Daniel, a friend of Maira’s family, described life on the run, moving from place to place every few days, adding: “Maira is traumatised. She cannot speak. We want to take her to the doctor but we are afraid we might be spotted.
“We are all very frightened but we place our trust in God.”
Maira’s claims against Mr Nakash and his accomplices are set out in a statement she made to police, a copy of which has been issued to ACN by the family’s lawyer, Khalil Tahir Sandhu.
Describing what happened after she was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint in April, Maira states: “I found myself at an unknown place where the accused forced me to have a glass of juice that contained some intoxicant.
“I was semi-conscious at that moment and the accused raped me forcefully and also filmed me naked. When I came to my senses, I started shouting and requesting them to release me…
“They threatened to murder my whole family. They have also shown me my naked video and pictures which they have taken on their mobile while raping me.”
She continues: “My life was at stake in the hands of the accused and… Nakash repeatedly raped me forcefully.”
The family are calling for Mr Nakash’s arrest for sex crimes involving a minor and Mr Tahir Sandhu has applied to the courts both to cancel her marriage to him and her forced conversion.
In the meantime, Mr Nakash is calling for the arrest of Maira’s mother, Nighat, her uncles and Mr Daniel, claiming they kidnapped the girl from his home.
It comes nearly three weeks after Lahore High Court ruled in Mr Nakash’s favour in the case of the girl’s alleged abduction on 28th April, when it is claimed he and two armed accomplices kidnapped her in broad daylight close to her home.
The family has consistently contested Mr Nakash’s claims of marrying Maira, and in court Mr Tahir Sandhu produced an official birth certificate to show the girl was 13 at the time of the alleged ceremony last October.
The Muslim cleric named in the marriage certificate dismissed it as a fake and went to the police to complain.