Pakistan court sentences Muslim man to 25 years for killing Christian woman for refusing marriage proposal

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A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Muslim man to 25 years in prison for killing a Christian woman who rejected his marriage proposal.

Muhammad Shahzad, the Muslim man who is also known as Shani, was sentenced by Judge Azam Khan of the Islamabad Session Court for the murder of Sonia Allah Rakha, a 24-year-old Christian woman, the rights group CLAAS-UK said in a statement to The Christian Post.

Judge Khan commended the police for their thorough investigation, which led to Shani’s conviction while acquitting three other accused individuals, the group said.

The murder occurred on Nov. 30, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. at Fazaia Chowk in Islamabad when Shani shot Sonia after her family declined his marriage proposal due to religious differences. Sonia was on her way to work when Shani fatally shot her. He initially fled the scene but was later apprehended by the police.

Before the incident, Sonia had told her mother about Shani’s marriage proposal. Her mother declined the proposal, citing religious differences as the reason.

The victim’s family also said at the time that the accused had been harassing Sonia for the previous six months and had tried to force a physical relationship with her, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern, which said that Sonia refused these advances due to the difference in faith backgrounds.

As a “solution,” Shani proposed that Sonia should marry him and convert to Islam, but she refused. This rejection angered Shani, leading him to commit the act of violence.

Sonia’s father, Allah Rakha, expressed relief at the verdict but highlighted the emotional and financial toll on the family. Sonia had been a significant support for her family, and her loss shattered their dreams. He revealed that his wife, Teresa, recently suffered an electrical shock that left her bedridden, adding to the family’s hardships.

The family, which includes five daughters and a son, lives in a rented house and faces financial difficulties. Allah Rakha has appealed for community support, given their challenging circumstances.

“This verdict marks a step towards justice for Sonia Allah Rakha and her grieving family, although it cannot erase the pain of their loss,” CLAAS-UK said.

In a separate case, another Christian woman, Adeeba Amjad, was recently denied a plea to return to her family after being abducted by her former Muslim employer, according to CLAAS-UK.

The issue of forced conversions and marriages involving minority women is not new in Pakistan.

A 2014 study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan estimated that roughly 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian communities were being abducted, forcibly married, and converted to Islam every year.

Courtesy of The Christian Post.

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