SHC sends Arzoo to shelter home in underage marriage case

KARACHI: A bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday sent Arzoo Fatima, a minor girl, to shelter home and ordered arrangements for her education and other facilities.Arzoo Fatima, a Christian girl, was allegedly abducted and forced to convert and marry Ali Azhar 44.“Do you want to go with your parents?” Justice KK Agha asked the girl, who refused to go with her parents again.“It is not an abduction case but the case of underage marriage,” the prosecutor said in the court. “The Nikah Khawan who solemnised the marriage of Arzoo and Ali Azhar, has been on bail and other accused have also got bails from courts,” the prosecutor said. “However, two accused are absconding,” he added.“What efforts have been made for their arrest? It is your responsibility to arrest absconding accused,” the Justice said.“The charge sheet has been submitted to the lower court,” Arzoo Fatima’s lawyer said.

“You should keep quiet, you are not a lawyer in this case,” Justice Agha said.“According to a Supreme Court ruling, the case should be decided according to the Islamic law when the matter has relevance with the marriage law as well as the Islamic laws,”the counsel further argued.
“You are committing contempt of the court and if you talk further, contempt proceedings will be initiated against you,” the bench warned the lawyer. “Don’t instruct the court, we know well how to proceed the case,” the judge further said. “Police should present its report in the lower court after transparent investigation of the matter,” the judge said.“Arzoo Fatima, should be sent to Darul Aman (shelter home) and arrangements should be made for her education and other required facilities,” the court ordered. The bench also ordered the home department to arrange counselling for the girl and dismissed the petition.A five-member medical board constituted by the high court to determine the girl’s age in its report earlier said that “Arzoo Fatima, has been aged between 14 to 15 years.”
The parents of the girl had complained that Arzoo Raza alias Arzoo Fatima was abducted and forced to convert and marry Ali Azhar. TLTP

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