PESHAWAR: To resolve the controversy over conjugal rights of an aged Afghan national and a young lover with a runaway Afghan girl to Pakistan, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Tuesday shifted the case to a family court with the directives to decide it within 40 days.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Roohul Amin Khan observed that controversy of valid nikahnama (matrimonial bond) with Maryam had emerged as both Azizur Rehman, 60, and Hewad, 22, were claiming to be her husband.
The chief justice remarked that the family court would now decide whether or not Maryam was the wife of Azizur Rehman before contracting marriage with the young Hewad. The bench directed the District and Sessions Judge Peshawar, Shaibar Khan, to mark the case to a family court and ensure fair and transparent trial. It directed the sub-ordinate court to conduct the trial on daily basis and submit the verdict to the PHC registrar office.
However, the bench rejected Azizur Rehman’s plea that the couple be separated till the final verdict. The court also summoned and directed the district coordination officer Peshawar, Javed Khan Marwat to provide full protection to the couple.
The police produced the runaway Afghan couple Hewad and Maryam amid tight security. Azizur Rehman, a paralysed old man, who claimed to be the husband of Maryam, also appeared in the court on a wheelchair. Maryam’s mother Razia Bibi and her brother Fawad were also there.
Conflicting statements have emerged in the case. The educated young Hewad claimed that he wanted to marry Maryam in accordance with the local customs and traditions after completion of his education, but her brother-in-law Azizur Rehman wanted to marry Maryam forcibly after the death of her sister Marzia. He said the situation forced them to leave Afghanistan and take asylum in Pakistan. Hewad said both left Afghanistan some 40 days ago and took refuge in Abbottabad with a friend.
On the other hand, Azizur Rehman produced nikahnama claiming to be the first husband of Maryam. He claimed he had two daughters including four-year old Sana and two-year old Husna from her.
The girl’s mother Razia Bibi and her brother Fawad also came to Pakistan and supported Azizur Rehman’s claim. Razia Bibi told The News that some six and a half years ago Maryam willingly married Azizur Rehman, but later she got unhappy as her husband was an aged man. “I have come here to bring back my daughter to Afghanistan. How can I allow my married daughter to live with a stranger,” she questioned.
She said that Azizur Rehman had three sons and two daughters from his late wife Marzia. She said Maryam agreed to marry the Azizur Rehman to look after the minor child of her late sister.
However, Maryam told The News that she had left her home of her free will and contracted marriage with Hewad. She said that her brother-in-law Azizur Rehman was 60 years old and wanted to marry her forcibly after the death of her sister Marzia.