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Freewill marriage couple: case quashed after ‘divorce’

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court ordered on Friday quashment of a criminal case against a freewill marriage couple, who have separated in the meanwhile.

According to a joint petition moved by Nida Ansari and Saifullah, they left Hyderabad on June 15 and solemnised nikah in Karachi on June 16. Nida’s brother lodged a complaint and the Hyderabad Fort police registered an FIR. In their statements, the respondents said Nida studied fashion and designing in Britain and was already married to a British citizen of Pakistani origin, Ahsan Bashir. Nida categorically denied any previous marriage in her statement before the court and before the investigation officer in Assistant Advocate-General Adnan Karim Memon’s office.

The petition was fixed for hearing on June 22 but neither of the petitioners appeared on that date. The court took a serious view and asked the police to produce Nida, who had gone to Gujranwala, and Saifullah, who worked in a Karachi hospital, on Friday. Both appeared as directed but Nida retracted her earlier statement and claimed that Saifullah had married her at gunpoint and that she was already married to Ahsan.

The bench comprising Justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Moharram G. Baloch warned her of the implications of her statement and asked the AAG to have her fresh statement recorded by the IO. She was taken to the AAG’s office, where she stated that she was not forced to marry Saifullah. However, Saifullah divorced her on July 11. She produced the divorce deed signed by Saifullah, who had disappeared in the meantime. Nida said that her previous marriage was only a “paper marriage”. She said she would live with her mother during the period of Iddat. The bench ordered the case quashed and allowed Nida to go with her mother after satisfying itself that the petitioner was not under pressure.
Source: Dawn
Date:7/26/2009

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