The Pakistan High Court which had earlier, in a shocking decision, granted custody of 13-year-old Christian girl named Arzoo, who was kidnapped, raped and converted to Islam, to her 44-year-old abductor Ali Azhar, has now again ruled in favour of her perpetrator.
Ruling out the rape angle from the case, the Pakistan HC dismissed the case and granted relief to the culprit. Arzoo has been sent to a women shelter home where the Pakistani court said she could live until she turns 18. Pakistani activist Rahat Austin took to Twitter to share the court ruling.
Arzoo a 13-year-old Christian girl abducted, raped, married off to a 44-year old Muslim man. Today in Sindh High court, case dismissed, she is sent to women shelter where court says she can live till she is 18-year-old. All culprits are released as Judge said its not a rape case pic.twitter.com/HiVd52UcCE— Rahat Austin (@johnaustin47) November 23, 2020
Court grants custody of 13-year-old Christian girl to her abductor
On October 30 we reported that the Pakistan court has granted the custody of a 13-year-old girl Christian girl to her 44-year-old abductor, Ali Azhar. The minor girl was kidnapped from her residence in Karachi’s Railway Colony on October 13. She was then forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor.
Journalist Bilal Farooqi had uploaded the birth certificate of the abducted girl, issued by the Sindh government, wherein the date of birth is mentioned as July 31, 2007. Despite evidence that the victim is a minor, the Court had directed the abductor to keep the minor girl based on an affidavit signed by her under duress.
Moreover, the Sindh High Court had directed the SHO (Station House Officer) to not make any arrest and instead provide protection to the forcefully married couple, to prevent harassment.
Earlier, Ali Azhar had provided a fake marriage certificate, which stated that the girl was 18 years old and not a minor.
The girl’s mother, Rita, had earlier made an emotional appeal to rescue her daughter from the clutches of Ali Azhar who was allegedly threatening Arzoo’s family following the minor’s abduction.
According to reports, several Christians and social activists had staged a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on October 24, demanding the enforcement of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act.
It is pertinent to point out that the Sindh provincial Assembly had enacted the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act in 2014, thereby barring child marriage and imposing a punishment of up to 3 years for the adult men.
Atrocities against minorities in Pakistan continuing with impunity
Abductions, forced conversions and forced marriages of girls and women from the minorities background has become a serious concern in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has often assured that Pakistan will take strict against anyone targeting minorities, but this practice has continued for years with impunity.
Earlier this year, India had lodged a strong protest over the abduction of minor girls belonging to the minority Hindu, Sikh and other communities of Pakistan. This action was taken by Govt of India after two consecutive cases of abductions of minor Hindu girls in Pakistan were reported. According to reports, two Hindu girls named Shanti Meghwad and Sarmi Meghwad were abducted in Pakistan on January 14. The girls are residents of Umar Village, Tharparkar, Sindh, Pakistan. On the next day, another Hindu minor girl named Mehak Kumari was abducted from the Jacobabad district of Sindh province in the country.
Later, radical Islamists and clerics in Pakistan had demanded the beheading of Mehak Kumari, who was abducted, converted to Islam and forcibly married to a Muslim man, for leaving Islam. In a video which then went viral on Twitter, few radical Islamists and clerics of Pakistan were heard blaming 14-year-old Mehak of murtad, or an act of Apostasy, and are demanding death punishment, accusing her of insulting Islam.