The Sindh High Court has directed the authorities to immediately recover Arzoo Raja - a young woman at center of am underage forced conversion case - and present her in the court on November 5.
Her parents have said that the 13-year-old was abducted, forcibly converted and married to a 44-year-old man.
The court said that she should be kept in a shelter home and her medical examination should confirm her age. The bench noted that they have to see if she was forcibly converted or not.
At the last hearing on October 27, the police were instructed to provide her protection. On Monday, the police said that they did not know where she is.
On the Arzoo case, today judge has ordered the girl be recovered by police & relevant agencies & be shifted to a shelter home. next hearing fixed for Thursday morning. My lawyer has informed court that an intervener will be filed on my behalf.— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 2, 2020
Justice Amjad Ali Sahito remarked that the court follows the law and not emotions. No underage person can marry anyone under the Pakistani law, he remarked.
Notices have also been issued to the Sindh IG.
'Forced conversion' case
Raja Masih, Arzoo's father, filed an FIR on October 13 saying Arzoo was kidnapped from her home. The police found that she had been married to Syed Ali Azhar, who presented a nikkahnama, free-will affidavit and a Sanad-e-Islam certificate.
Arzoo’s parents say she is 13 years old and as proof present her NADRA birth certificate, NADRA registration and baptism certificate to prove it. The NADRA documents say she was born on July 31, 2007. Azhar maintains she is 18 years old and willingly converted to Islam in order to marry him. He is 44 years old.
On October 29 , a sessions court granted post-arrest bail to three suspects detained on charges of abducting the child. The men argued that the Sindh High Court had restrained the police from arresting them. Syed Ali Azhar’s two brothers Syed Shariq Ali and Syed Mohsin Ali and his friend Danish were detained for their involvement in the abduction. They are all reportedly police officials.
Her parents have filed an application under rules 5, 8, 9 and 10 of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Rules, 2016, Section 6 of the Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 and Section 100 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.