After pressured marriage, conversion, 13-year-old teen handed over to ‘husband’ by Sindh courtroom in Pakistan

Days after stories of the kidnapping, pressured conversion and marriage of Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian woman in Pakistan, got here to mild; a Sindh High Court has given the custody of the woman to her husband saying she accepted Islam willingly.

According to stories, in her testimony, Arzoo not solely stated that she accepted the religion out of her personal volition but in addition that she was not kidnapped or made to marry by pressure.

There is a video doing the rounds on social media the place her household is seen pleading and attempting to persuade her to inform the reality and go dwelling with them. However, the teenager continues to keep up that she married of her personal will and was not lured by cash.

Even if the wedding wasn’t pressured, it actually is illegitimate since she continues to be a minor.

Pakistan Minister for Science and Technology has questioned the choice of the courtroom. In a tweet, he stated, “Honorable CJP this requires a thorough inquiry into loopholes in elevation system of Judges decision is contempt of Pakistan Justice system….”

WHO IS ARZOO RAJA?

Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian woman was forcibly kidnapped allegedly by Ali Azhar, a 44-year-old man in Karachi, Pakistan. Arzoo was transformed to Islam and reportedly bought married to her abductor.

Various human rights organisations have demanded justice for Arzoo Raja since. Naveed Walter, president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) stated minority ladies, notably Christians and Hindus, are forcefully transformed to Islam and made to marry Muslim males within the nation. “Abduction, conversion and marriage on the same day is a common practice in such cases and it has happened with Arzoo also in the same sequence,” stated Walter.

FALSE AGE, CONSENT FORMS PRESENTED IN COURT

The HRFP fact-finding crew reported that in proceedings of Sindh High Court dated October 27, 2020, Arzoo’s private data data had been altered together with age, mentioning her as an 18-year previous. The data additionally contained a press release of her free will in marrying and embracing Islam.

It was additionally discovered that Arzoo’s image was additionally changed on authorized paperwork, as identified by her mom Rita.

“In court premises, Arzoo was denied from meeting her mother as she was stopped by Ali Azhar,” stated Naveed Walter.

Walter added, “The age of the girl is 13 and it is proved by her school records and certificates, national database states her date of birth as July 31, 2007, and the church register also shows the same age but she has been falsely presented as an adult in court including a conversion certificate from the Madressah Jamia Islamia and a marriage certificate with her new name Arzoo Fatima.”

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SLAMS PAK COURT DECISION

Meanwhile, representatives of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which incorporates Pakistan, referred to as on the nation to abide by the 2014 Kathmandu Call to Action to End Child Marriage in Asia.

“As part of its commitment and signatory to international rights treaties, Pakistan has to ensure access to legal remedies for child brides and establish a uniform minimum legal age of marriage of 18, but there are no listenings nor implementations, unfortunately,” stated Naveed Walter.

London-based Anila Gulzar, spokeswoman for Justice for Minorities in Pakistan slammed the decide who dominated that Arzoo Raja was sufficiently old to make her personal resolution to marry her husband.

She stated, “This is very unfortunate that minorities in Pakistan have no place. They are not even secure. As per the law, those who are involved in forced and underage marriages have to face three years of punishment. But, when this case was presented in the court, the judge ruled that Arzoo Raja was old enough to make her own decision.”

“Why is no voice is being raised against the minorities in Pakistan? Human rights activists and politicians are silent over the atrocities being committed against the minorities. Even in courts, there is no justice for the victims,” Anila Gulzar added.

(With inputs from businesses)

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