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Christian teenager hunted by death squads in Pakistan begs Boris to grant her asylum | World | News


The Government is being urged to offer Maira Shahbaz asylum in the UK, with the 14-year-old this weekend making a direct appeal to Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself. The case has been highlighted by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

A petition last month calling on the UK to offer her sanctuary has collected 8,500 signatures so far.

In April, Maira was bundled into a car close to her home in Madine Town, close to Faisalabad, by three men, including Mohammad Nakash Tariq.

She accuses them of drugging her before filming themselves raping her.

They then used the footage to blackmail her into marrying Nakash Tariq and converting to Islam.

She eventually managed to escape in August after Lahore High Court ruled she should remain with her abuser.

However, her life is now in grave danger, ACN has warned.

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“Maira’s life is in grave danger. People have been going door to door looking for her.

“Extremists within Pakistan consider Maira an apostate and will kill her if they can.

“That is why we call on the UK government to grant her asylum so that she can be free of these constant threats to her life.”

In an open letter pleading for her to be granted asylum, Maira’s solicitor Sumera Shafique said: “Maira’s life is in constant danger because she is condemned as an apostate by her abductor and his supporters.

“Unless Maira and her family can leave Pakistan they will always be at risk of being killed.”

A report published by the Christian Solidarity Worldwide charity last year indicated 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls each year were abducted and forced to marry and convert to Islam in Pakistan.

The report added: “Although due to under-reporting and the complex nature of the crimes, the true figure is likely to be much higher. Lawyers, activists and community leaders from Sindh who are involved in such cases told CSW that girls are mistreated, threatened and abused, and have no hope of returning to their families.

“They explained that many of the families affected are unable to afford a lawyer, and even when they can, the families face endemic bias and discrimination from police and the judiciary, as well as serious threats from the abductor and his supporters.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Downing Street to ask about Maira’s request to the Prime Minister.



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