A group of armed men has reportedly robbed the home of a Christian family in Pakistan's Punjab province and kidnapped their 14-year-old daughter at gunpoint.
According to a report from the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), three men scaled the walls of the home of the family living in the town of Gaggo Mandi in Vehari District at 3:00 a.m. on April 15. At least three other men were believed to be involved in the crime as the family heard other men shouting outside their home.
The armed men waved their guns and told the family to kneel down as they took $130 in cash and about $500 in jewelry. Before leaving, they told the Maria, the 14-year-old daughter, to get up and leave with them.
The family believes that the primary objective for the early-morning raid was to kidnap Maria because they heard the other men outside the home shouting "have you got the girl yet?"
They said one of the kidnappers was a neighbor named Amjad, who is known to have taken a liking to Maria.
The kidnappers reportedly told the family that they will never see Maria again and threatened to kill them if they tell the police about the abduction.
The police initially refused to file a First Incident report, and they only agreed to register a report of the alleged crime due to pressure from a BPCA representative.
"Every day I am without my daughter I feel like dying. These men will do terrible things with Maria, she is so alone and vulnerable. I asked the men to take me and leave my children but they stole my eldest child from me," said Bushra Bibi, the mother of Maria.
The mother complained that the authorities have been doing very little to retrieve her daughter. BPCA has launched a fundraising campaign to provide an attorney for the family to help them ensure that the police will conduct the investigations properly.
According to a 2014 report from the NGO Movement of Solidarity and Peace, around 100 to 700 Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriages each year.
Bibi, who worked as a cleaner at various houses, including Amjad's, feared that she would be like "many other mothers who never see their daughter again."
"The thought of this is filling me with despair. I have been praying for a miracle and plead with other Christians to pray for Maria," said Bibi.