Activist Sajjad Raja raises abduction case of minor Gilgit girl in UNHRC

Activist Sajjad Raja raises abduction case of minor Gilgit girl in UNHRC

At the 55th session of the Human Rights Council, professor Sajjad Raja, the chairman of the National Equality Party for Jammu and Kashmir Gilgit Baltistan and Ladakh (NEP-JKGBL) raised the issue of the abduction of minor girl Falak Noor, who was allegedly kidnapped from Pak-occupied Gilgit two months ago.

“Today people of Pakistani occupied Gilgit-Baltistan are protesting on roads hopelessly to recover an Ismaili minority girl Falak Noor who was abducted two months ago from Gilgit city and has been sent to Mansehra, Pakistan but authorities have not even registered a report.” said Sajjad.

In his statement Sajjad raised alarm at rising forced conversions and child marriages in Pakistan. “The abducted girls from the minority religions or ethnicities have converted to Islam and married to men from majority faith and ethnicities.” added Sajjad.

Falak was allegedly abducted two months ago while travelling to a nearby community centre for religious education in Sultanabad, Gilgit. Later a social media video emerged and went viral where Falak claimed to be happy and to have married Fareed Alam willingly. However, discrepancies in her age emerged from a Nikah Nama stating she was 16.

A medical certificate from a local clinic in Mansehra indicated her age as 16. Falak’s father, however, reportedly produced documents attesting to her age of 13, accusing those involved of attempting bribery. He claimed that the marriage was arranged in Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and that her daughter was taken there by the kidnappers.

In Pakistan, the cases of forced marriages of minor girls are rising. Every year, dozens of teenage girls, mostly from the minority community fall victim to this practice. Pakistan’s courts have given offenders a green light by acknowledging “fraudulent evidence” regarding the victims’ ages.

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