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Court dismisses appeal of man seeking custody of ‘his underage wife’

Karachi

April 23, 2021

A sessions court has dismissed the appeal filed by the man who married teenager Christian-turned-Muslim girl Arzoo seeking her custody.

Ali Azhar has been through a trial for allegedly kidnapping the girl, who is said to be under the age of 15, forcibly marrying her and raping her. His two brothers, as many lawyers, a friend and a cleric have also been implicated for allegedly facilitating the offence.

Azhar, who was recently released on bail, had pleaded to the court to allow him to meet his wife who is currently living in a shelter home. He said that being a single male member, he was having difficulties in taking care of his family.

His attorney argued that his client had married the girl against the Mahr of Rs50,000 on October 12, 2020, but on the complaint of her family, the couple was separated from each other. He added that his client was being illegally denied the right to perform his conjugal rights with his legal wife.

The lawyer, representing the parents of the girl, opposed the plea, arguing that the plaintiff was already charged with raping and marrying a child and was put away from her on the orders of the Sindh High Court. He added that the application did not hold any ground and should be dismissed.

The additional district and sessions judge South, Uzma Khan, who is presiding over the case, rejected the application after listening to the arguments from both the sides and upheld the order of the family court which already barred the accused from meeting the girl.

Arzoo had allegedly eloped with Azhar on October 13 after which her father Raja lodged a complaint with the Frere police station, alleging that her daughter was abducted by the accused. According to the charge sheet, it later transpired that she had married Azhar after converting to Islam.

Police had arrested Azhar’s brothers, Syed Mohsin Ali and Syed Shariq Ali, and friend Danish but later released them while nominating lawyers Mahmood Hassan and Junaid Siddiqui, who allegedly prepared marriage documents, nikkah khawan Qazi Abdul Rasool, the justice of peace, Azharuddin, who allegedly issued the free will certificate to the girl, and two alleged witnesses of the marriage, Danish Hussain and Habib, as co-accused.