A 2014 study by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan found that an estimated 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are abducted, forcefully married, and forcefully converted in Pakistan every year.
Child marriage is technically illegal in Pakistan under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, but courts typically do not enforce these laws. Sharia law, which is used in some judicial decisions in Pakistan, permits a child to be married after her first menstrual period.
One in every three girls in developing countries is married before reaching the age of 18 and one in nine is married under age 15, ADF said, citing data from the United Nations.
In another high-profile case from last year, Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Catholic girl from Pakistan, was kidnapped in broad daylight by 44-year-old Ali Azhar, who forced her to convert to Islam and marry him.
Two weeks after her abduction, on Oct. 27, 2020, the Sindh High Court, based on statements the girl gave saying she was 18, ruled the marriage was valid and that Azhar would not be arrested.
By November, the High Court had reversed itself and ruled that police should find the teenager. Raja has since been recovered and Azhar has subsequently been charged with rape.