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Police thwart child marriage

FAISALABAD: A man was arrested on Sunday for arranging his 13-year-old son’s wedding to a nine-year-old girl. The underage groom was also taken to the police station, but later released.

Satellite Town police in Jhang raided the ceremony and found that the nikah ceremony was about to begin. They said they had been tipped by the mother of the child bride.

Police arrested the groom’s father, Abdur Razzaq, and registered a case against him. Police has started the investigation.

Station House Officer Atif Imran of the Satellite Town police station said the girl’s mother, Naseem Bibi, was also taken to the police station to answer some questions.

She told them that her former husband, Murtaza, had divorced her after the birth of their daughter in 2003. She said he had wanted a son instead. She said after the divorce, she had started living with her brother, Razzaq.

She said recently he had started pressing her to marry her daughter to his 13-year-old son. She said she was against the marriage and had been thinking of how to stop it. She had tried to persuade her brother that the marriage would be illegal, she said, adding that she had tried not to take the issue with the police.

“When I failed to convince him, I had no other option left, but to inform the police.” She said she had deliberately informed the police on the day of the wedding, so that Razzaq could be caught red-handed.

Razzaq told police that he was not regretful of his decision.

He said he was doing so to reduce his sister’s burden. He said Naseem Bibi had earlier agreed to the marriage.

He said there had been several child marriages in the area, but police had only “spoiled” his son’s marriage because “he had not bribed them”. He claimed that the marriage was not un-Islamic. He also said the children are in the same age group”.

The SHO told The Express Tribune that Razzaq will be presented before the area judicial magistrate on Monday (today). He said the police will ask the court to send him on judicial remand. He said no action could be taken against the groom because he was a juvenile.

He said the maulvi (cleric) was not arrested as the nikah had not taken place yet.

The Express Tribune