A Christian widow and mother of three was abducted, raped, murdered, and doused with acid after she refused to convert to Islam and marry one of her abductors.
Shazia Imran worked at LUMS University in Lahore, Pakistan. On 6 June, at the end of her work shift, she failed to return home. Worried family members searched throughout the night for her and, the next day, they filed a police report. The police contacted the family that same day to notify them that a body was found in the morning. The family was able to identify the body as their missing loved one.
For some time prior to the attack, Shazia had been receiving pressure from a local Muslim man, Mani Gujjar. Not wanting to cause problems for the rest of her family, she did not share this concern with them until a few days before her murder. At that time, she told her sister-in-law that Mani had threatened to kill her if she did not convert to Islam and marry him.
When questioned by the authorities, Mani confessed to the crime. However, the police have not pursued the arrests of three accomplices: Mani’s brother and two cousins. The accused claims that the Christian woman had been in a relationship with him but recently started blackmailing him. “We doubt that we’ll get justice for our sister, as the police [officials’] bias is evident,” stated the victim’s brother Zafar. He and his family have gone into hiding due to fear of retribution.
Shazia’s husband had passed away 18 months earlier under suspicious circumstances. The family believes that Shazia’s attackers are the same people who were responsible for her husband’s death, which was ruled an accident by the police. Shazia leaves behind two sons, Salman (16) and Abrar (6), as well as a daughter, Aliza (7). While they are under the care of their uncle Zafar, Salman is working to provide for his siblings. The younger children have been unable to continue their education because of financial constraints.
Forced conversions and marriages happen frequently in Pakistan but are often not reported, nor are they sufficiently pursued within the country’s legal system.