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Runaway Afghan couple: Court given 40 days to decide elopers’ case

By: Umer Farooq

PESHAWAR: While closing proceedings into the case of an Afghan runaway couple, the Peshawar High Court directed a family court to decide the case, with no adjournment, within 40 days.

Mariyam and Haiwad said they fled Kabul last month to wed in Abbottabad after they learned that Mariyam’s parents wanted her to marry her dead sister’s husband, Abdul Rehman. The couple said that if they were sent back to Afghanistan, they would be murdered for eloping against her family’s wishes.

The PHC had taken notice of the issue after media reports said the couple’s life was in danger. However, on Tuesday Mariyam’s mother and brother appeared in court along with Abdul Rehman, claiming he was her real husband.

Razma told The Express Tribune said Mariyam’s real name was Maloda and she had consented to marrying Abdul Rehman after her sister died in 2006.

“After Marzia’s death, Maloda (Mariyam) herself showed willingness to marry Abdul Rehman,” she said, adding that a dispute had surfaced between them two months earlier, which could be the reason she ran away.

Razma told AFP that two years later after their marriage, Abdul Rehman had a stroke and has been left partially paralysed.”The court should hand over the girl to us, we will not kill her,” she said.

She also said that Sana and Husna – who Mariyam claimed were her sister’s and Abdul Rehman’s daughter – were her real daughters.

Furthermore, Mariyam’s brother Fawad denied threatening the couple. “We don’t want more and more people to know about the issue and defame our family. We want to take our sister back home,” he said, adding they did not have any concerns about Haiwad and they would never harm him.

The court was also informed that the police did not have a proper place to lodge the couple, upon which PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan asked District Coordination Officer Javed Marwat to provide the couple with safe accommodation.

Marwat informed the court that he would contact the in-charge of the Women Crisis Centre (WCC) to accommodate Mariyam, and added that Haiwad could be offered safe accommodation close to the WCC.

The court also directed the city police chief to provide the couple and the WCC with maximum security.

The Express Tribune