‘Forced conversion has become a major tool for the persecution of Christians and Hindus in Pakistan,’ said a representative from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan.
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Two weeks after her abduction, on Oct. 27, the Sindh High Court, based on statements the young girl gave saying she was 18, ruled the marriage was valid and that Azhar would not be arrested.
Approximately 400 people protested the decision at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Karachi, and Christians in other parts of the country protested as well.
Sister Ruth Lewis, head of Dar-ul-Sukun, a Karachi home for children with disabilities, died at age 77 of the coronavirus in Karachi July 20.
The US State Department has designated Pakistan a “country of particular concern” since 2018 for its record on religious freedom violations.
The authorities of Pakistan have consistently failed to implement safeguards on behalf of religious minorities, despite numerous policies in favor of economic and physical protections for members of non-Muslim religions.
A petition to overturn last year’s acquittal of blasphemy charges against the Catholic wife and mother was dismissed Tuesday.
Authorities flew Bibi to an undisclosed location the night of Nov. 7 for security reasons, two senior government officials told the AP.
The Catholic mother of five faces a real possibility of death if she is released from jail but forbidden from leaving Pakistan.
At least nine churchgoers were killed and more than 40 injured in a double suicide bomber attack at a Methodist church in southwest Pakistan.