Little Pakistani Girl Pleads To Live With “Papa and Jesus Papa” After Being Kidnapped and Beaten for Refusing To Accept Islam – ACLJ Affiliate Secures Right for Christian Father To Raise His Children in His Faith
In November 2022, we informed you about Yasir Masih and his daughter, who were beaten and threatened by Yasir’s ex-wife, her Muslim paramour , and their accomplices to accept Islam.
Yasir’s wife, Komal, left him and their two children (a three-year-old daughter and a six-month-old son) in January 2022 and eloped with a Muslim man, Nauman Ali. A few months later, Nauman and his accomplices began threatening Yasir, demanding that he leave his Christian faith and accept Islam. When threats did not work, they kidnapped Yasir and his daughter.
The kidnappers brought them to a basement of a house where over 100 Muslim men were gathered. They beat Yasir and demanded that he accept Islam, or they would kill him and his daughter. One of the men grabbed Yasir’s three-year-old daughter’s arm and asked if she wanted to live with her mother or her father. The little girl tearfully answered that she wanted to live with her “papa and Jesus papa.” The man was very angered by her answer and pulled the little girl’s arm so hard that it dislocated her shoulder. Then he slapped her.
After Yasir and his injured daughter were finally allowed to leave, Yasir went to the police; but the Pakistani police refused to take any action.
Around this time, I was visiting our affiliate office, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), in Pakistan, meeting with clients and our team, when a friend of Yasir’s brought him and his two children to our office. He told us that Yasir and his children had been hiding at his shop because people were looking for Yasir. Yasir’s life was in danger, and his friend could not keep him at the shop for long without jeopardizing his own safety.
While I was talking to Yasir and his friend, Yasir’s two children were playing and running around in our office. My wife poured a cup of milk and gave it to Yasir’s daughter. Instead of drinking it, she gave it to her father first as she knew that he had not eaten well for days.
That evening, I gathered our attorneys and created a legal plan to seek protection for Yasir and his children. While we were preparing documents to be filed with the authorities and the court, we found Yasir and his children a safe house where they could stay until the authorities took action.
The next morning, we sent an application to higher officials, including the Ministry of Interior, the Inspector General of Punjab, the Home Secretary, and the Ministry of Human Rights. The application sought protection for Yasir and his children. We also petitioned the court to oversee the authorities’ actions.
Ten days later, Yasir received a call from the Inspector General’s office, informing him that his case had been assigned through the government’s human rights office to the local police station to be handled on an urgent basis.
Our team went to the police station, where Nauman Ali, Abdul Rehman , and their accomplices were also summoned. The police obtained a written statement from all the accused that they would not harass, threaten, or harm Yasir. The accused were told that strict legal action would be taken if they threatened or harmed Yasir or his children.
As soon as the written statement was signed, our team of lawyers accompanied Yasir and his children back to their home. However, the fight was not over.
Under Pakistani law, Yasir’s ex-wife, who had converted to Islam, could take the children at any time and force them to convert, thus using them to try to force Yasir to convert to Islam. So we filed a legal petition, asking the court to appoint Yasir as the official legal guardian of his children and recognize that he had a right to raise his children in the Christian faith.
Section 17 of Pakistan’s Guardians and Wards Act requires that when appointing a guardian, the court must respect the minor’s religion in which the minor was born. Under Pakistan’s case law, a child is presumed to have his father’s religion, and it is the duty of the guardian to train the child in the religion of the child’s father.
In the petition, we also argued that the marriage in which the children were born was a Christian marriage and their father was still a Christian who wanted to raise his children in the Christian faith, while the mother had abandoned the children and converted to Islam. As such, under Pakistani law, the father has a superior right to custody and guardianship of the minors.
After recording the testimony and hearing the argument, the court agreed with us and granted our petition.
This is a huge victory in the face of assaults, threats, and harassment to forcibly convert a Christian man and his children to Islam. We are thankful for our faithful team in Pakistan and the Pakistani authorities who took action to protect this family.