KARACHI: A local magistrate in Karachi on Tuesday granted police three-day physical remand of a 44-year-old suspect in a case pertaining to the alleged abduction, forceful conversion and marriage to a minor girl, Arzoo Raja.
The police have been directed to submit DNA report and other evidence before the bench on the next hearing.
The prime suspect, Syed Azhar Ali, was arrested by the Anti-Violent Crime Cell a day earlier on a police complaint filed by Arzoo’s father, Raja.
Today, the police presented the suspect before a magistrate seeking judicial remand. During the hearing, the suspect's counsel claimed the 13-year-old had willingly wed Ali. He argued that the prosecution can neither seek arrest nor judicial remand in the case.
The plaintiff's lawyer said a DNA test would explain the case further.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the magistrate reserved the verdict.
The matter came into light last week after the reports of the minor girl’s kidnapping, forceful conversion and marriage surfaced on social media prompting Sindh government and civil rights activists to take notice and file separate petitions in the Sindh High Court.
On Monday, the high court directed police to recover the minor girl and move her to a shelter home within three days.
“In this case the dispute is twofold: firstly the age of the petitioner Arzoo Fatima; according to her family she is 13 years of age and to this effect, certificates have been produced,” reads the order issued by the high court.
“Second issue is whether she has freely converted at her own free will from Christianity to Islam and that being the case she has entered into a valid marriage with Ali Azhar.”
The court noted that the first issue has to be “decided first as no person under the age of 18 can get married according to the law prevailing in this country”.
The case will be heard on Thursday, November 5.
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