Jaranwala - October 18, 2023: The distressing case of Samreen Aftab, a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl allegedly abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Jaranwala, has taken a disturbing turn. In a troubling development, a false First Information Report (FIR) was registered against her father, Aftab Joseph, adding a layer of complexity to an already harrowing situation.
Background: Samreen Aftab, a student in the 9th grade, hails from a well-known family that operates the "Aftab Public School" in Sheronala, Jaranwala. Her father, Aftab Joseph, serves as the school's principal, while her mother Ishrat Bibi, works as a caretaker. The family has two daughters and two sons, with Samreen being the second eldest.
Alleged Abduction: According to Joseph, his daughter was abducted by a Muslim man named Muhammad Amir from Islampura Main Bazar in Jaranwala. Samreen was purportedly forcefully converted to Islam and subsequently married to Amir.
False FIR: Adding to the family's anguish, a counterfeit FIR, bearing number 1490/23, was lodged at Jaranwala city police station. Shockingly, the complainant named in this false FIR was none other than Aftab Joseph himself, the father of Samreen, abducted earlier this year. Even more distressing, the FIR listed several of Joseph's family members, including Aftab Joseph, Iftikhar Joseph, Shahida Iftikhar, Amar Afta, Nashid Sabir and Mrs. Afshan Sabir
What makes this development particularly perplexing is the fact that the FIR identifies Joseph's own daughter, Samreen Aftab, under her new Muslim name, Kaneez Fatima, and her alleged husband, Amir, as the complainants. This false FIR was filed during efforts to secure Samreen's safe return, further complicating the family's plight.
Legal Manoeuvring: Ashraf Gill, a high court advocate representing Aftab Joseph and his family, explained that the delay in addressing the abduction was influenced by the local village council's decision. The council, functioning as a sort of "panchayat" system, initially opted not to immediately register an FIR. Instead, they expressed their intent to resolve the matter internally within seven days.
However, after a week had passed, the abductors presented a marriage certificate and a certificate of Samreen's conversion to Islam, thus complicating the situation further.
Misrepresentation of Cases: Gill expressed deep frustration over the misuse of counter-complaints, which are often used to portray such cases as mere love affairs. This tactic diverts attention from the gravity of the crime and obstructs the path to justice for vulnerable victims. In response, Gill announced that they intend to take the case to the high court, seeking justice for Samreen Aftab and her family.
The family and their legal representative have requested support and prayers from the community during this challenging period.