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Court reissues notice to runaway Afghan woman

By: Akhtar Amin

PESHAWAR: An Afghan woman who had fled to Pakistan after marrying a man against the wishes of her family has been again issued a notice by a family court to submit her reply to an application filed by an aged Afghan national claiming to be her first husband.

The family court’s judge Qurat-ul-Ain Chand had issued the notice to Mariam through the in-charge of the Women Crisis Centre as she has been living there on the directives of the Peshawar High Court under strict security.

The court had earlier issued notice to Mariam to submit her reply in the case and fixed August 18 for its hearing but she failed to submit her reply. The judge has now reissued the notice and fixed September 1 for next hearing. On July 31, the PHC had directed the runaway Afghan couple and the man claiming to be Mariam’s first husband to approach the family court to find out whether she had been previously married or not.

A two-member bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Roohul Amin had ordered that the Peshawar district and sessions judge should entrust the case to a family judge to hear it on day-to-day basis and decide it within 40 days.

The bench disposed of the case pending before it and directed Abdur Rehman, claiming to be Mariam’s first husband, to file suit for restitution of conjugal rights. The court also directed the couple, Hewad and Moluda alias Mariam, to file case of jactitation of marriage so that the family court could decide both the issues. Abdur Rehman immediately filed suit for restitution of his conjugal rights in the family court, but Mariam neither deposited her suit for jactitation of marriage under which she could claim that he was not her husband nor submitted her reply in the suit moved by Abdur Rehman.

Abdur Rehman’s lawyer Muhammad Ijaz Sabi told The News that his client had credible evidence to claim that Mariam was his wife. He said he had evidence of wedding photos and would produce the “nikahkhwan” and locals who attended the wedding ceremony as witnesses. He added that Mariam’s mother and two brothers were also ready to record their statements in favour of Abdur Rehman.

Mariam and Hewad refuted the claim, saying her family members were forcing her to marry Abdur Rehman due to which they decided to leave Afghanistan.

The PHC had directed Peshawar District Coordination Officer Javed Marwat to provide shelter to the couple at state expense in the Women’s Crisis Centre or any other suitable place. The court also ordered the capital city police officer to depute policemen at the centre as the couple had claimed that it was facing threats from Mariam’s family.

The police had shifted Mariam to the Women’s Crisis Centre while Hewad was kept in another place as he could not reside with her in the centre. Earlier, they were living together at the Police Lines under police protection despite objections by Mariam’s family that they should be separated till the final order of the court.

The News