KARACHI: A local court was told on Friday that the marriage between an underage Christian girl and a middle-aged Muslim man was lawful by the counsel of the accused. The Anti-Violent Crime Cell police submitted the case challan to the South judicial magistrate after the completion of their investigations into the case pertaining to the alleged abduction, forced conversion and underage marriage of a Christian girl, Arzoo Masih.
The counsel of accused Ali Azhar, Arzoo’s purported husband, maintained that Islam permitted marriage upon the attainment of puberty and the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act did not apply to the accused because it was superseded by federal and Sharia law in this regard.
He further claimed that Arzoo repeatedly denied being kidnapped before the Sindh High Court and told the cleric conducting the marriage and the justice of the peace that she was 18 years old. The counsel further stressed that the sections pertaining to child abuse and rape were not applicable.
He claimed that the victim must be younger than 14 years for the application of Section 375-V of the Pakistan Penal Code but Arzoo’s age, according to the medical board formed for the purpose, was 14 to 15 years. According to Arzoo’s B-form, she was born in 1997.
Meanwhile, accused lawyer Mehmood claimed the facilitation charges against him were ridiculous, adding that the police had nominated him in the FIR on the basis of mala fide intention. The government lawyer requested the court to allow him to give arguments at the next hearing, stating that the investigation and the police file were not present. The court directed the IO to appear at the next hearing, to be held on December 1.
Newspaper: The Express Tribune