08 Feb 2020
Muslim man's marriage to 14-year-old Christian girl valid: Pakistan court
In a horrifying ruling, a Pakistan court upheld the marriage of a 14-year-old girl to a man since she had had her first menstrual cycle, citing Sharia law.
Not only is the girl underage, her parents say she was abducted, forcibly converted from Christianity to Islam, and then made to marry her abductor, Abdul Jabbar.
Here are more details.
Court upheld marriage as per Sharia law
On February 3, judges Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali of the Sindh High Court observed that the marriage of Abdul Jabbar to the 14-year-old girl is valid under Sharia law, PTI reported.
The court also ordered the police to oversee tests to confirm the girl's age.
Notably, the girl's parents have produced documents in court to establish that she is 14.
Marriage violates Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act: Parents' lawyer
According to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the girl's parents produced a baptismal certificate from Saint James's parish in court, which stated that she was born in May 2005.
The parents' counsel, Tabassum Yousuf, also said that the marriage is against the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act (2014), which outlaws marriages to underage girls.
Parents urge international community to help
Meanwhile, the girl's parents have appealed to the international community to help their daughter.
In a statement, they said, "Our daughter is just 14 years old. If you had a 14-year-old daughter who was going through all these things, what would you do? How much would you be suffering? Please think of our child as though she were your own daughter. Please help us."
Girl allegedly abducted from home in October last year
According to the parents, the girl was abducted from their home on October 10, 2019.
They said she was forcibly converted to Islam and then forced to marry her alleged abductor Abdul Jabbar. The girl was also allegedly raped by Jabbar.
The parents have decided to approach Pakistan's Supreme Court against the Sindh HC's ruling, their lawyer said on Friday.
Parents' lawyer said police is colluding with accused
Further, Yousaf accused the police of being in cahoots with Jabbar. Yousaf said last month the girl was taken to court of first instance to sign a declaration that she is an adult. "Neither I nor her parents had been informed," Yousaf said.