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Christian girl who converted to Islam allowed to go with Muslim husband

By Our Correspondent
August 09, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has allowed a Christian girl who married to a Muslim man after converting to Islam to go and live with her husband peacefully.

Maria Shehbaz, 18, had embraced Islam and married Naqash Tariq with her own free will, however, her mother Nighat Shehbaz had lodged an FIR against Tariq under abduction charges. A sessions court at Faisalabad had sent the girl to Darul Aman against her will and her husband had assailed the impugned order in the LHC.

The petitioner-husband stated Maria had contracted marriage with him on October 25, 2019 with her own free will and consent after entering into Islam. She stated before sessions judge that she was a sui juris girl and no one had abducted her. She was living with her husband peacefully. The petitioner pleaded the girl did not want to go with her mother but the sessions court had wrongly sent her to Darul Aman. He requested the court to allow the girl to go with him. He pointed out that she could not be compelled to go with her parents as there was a serious life threat to her.

Girl’s mother argued that her daughter was minor and not eligible to contract marriage under the provisions of the Child Marriage Restraint ACT 1929. She stated that her daughter was allegedly kidnapped by Naqash Tariq to force her into marriage against her free will. She said her daughter Nikah Naama had also been found bogus and Nikah registrar had lodged an FIR in this regard.

Justice Shahid Mehmood Abbasi observed in his order issued on August 4 that on the desire of the mother, the girl was examined by the LHC and she responded that she was more than 18 year old. She recited “Kalma Tayyaba” and maintained that she had converted to Islam without any duress or pressure before marrying the petitioner.

The court observed that she was well conversant with the fact that her husband was already a married person and had kids, but she stated that she wanted to accompany her husband. “Statements of Maria Shehbaz as well as her general appearance unambiguously show that she is a grown up young lady who seemed to have attained the age of puberty and acknowledged the petitioner as her lawful husband.

Moreover, prior to lodging in Darul Aman she was living with the petitioner as his wife for a considerable time." The court further ruled that it could not determine the illegality and irregularity in the process of solemnization of the marriage when the girl herself was repeatedly recognized the petitioner as her husband. It was the domain of family court, the court concluded.

After setting aside the sessions court order to keep girl at Darul Aman, Justice Abbasi freed and allowed her to accompany her husband.