Christian girls are being "systematically" kidnapped and abuse in Pakistan, according to human rights activists, prompting a Supreme Court justice to express alarm.
But as far as the Pakistani police and government are concerned, this is not happening. They are claiming that the more than 1,000 children reported missing last year in just one province alone, in Punjab, actually left their home on their own free will, The Christian Post reports.
In turn, the activists are accusing the authorities of lying and covering up the kidnappings.
According to Haider Ashraf, the deputy inspector general of operations for the police department in Lahore, 90 percent of the 1,134 children reported to have been abducted in 2015 actually left their homes on their own accord after being admonished by their parents. Ashraf further claimed that 929 of the abducted children have returned home and that only about four children remained missing.
However, Pakistani Christian human rights activist Mehwish Bhatti told The Christian Post that Ashraf was not telling the truth.
She said most Christian families are not getting police assistance in finding their missing children. Families who were able to secure the release of their children usually had to pay a "heavy price," Bhatti said.
Bhatti said in many cases, Christian teenage girls are abducted by Muslims to be raped or forced into Islamic marriage. When the families of these girls go to the police to seek help, they are prevented from filing cases, she said.
The British Pakistani Christian Association has joined the clamour for the Pakistani government to stop the systematic abduction and kidnapping of Christian girls. The group has come up with an online petition urging the Pakistani government to stop the impunity of Muslim abductors.
The kidnappings have become so alarming that even Pakistan Supreme Court Justice Saqib Nisar has reportedly voiced concerns.
"It has been highlighted that such abductions are orchestrated with the nefarious object of extracting vital body organs of the abductees; while another attribution is for sexual abuse and / or beggary, etc., through the children," the justice wrote in a court notice on July 26. "That in any case such large scale abduction, if so, of children in a short span of time is a matter of immense concern and alarm."