KARACHI: A local court has taken cognizance of a marriage of an underage Christian girl, who was allegedly abducted and raped after being converted to Islam.
The judge issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the cleric, who allegedly solemnised the marriage of the then 13-year-old girl and her husband and his relatives against the sum of Rs10,000 each.
Initially, police had booked five suspects, including two women, in a case pertaining to alleged abduction of the girl and her rape in Ittehad Town locality.
When the matter came up before judicial magistrate (West) Wajid Ali Channa, the victim moved a private complaint seeking action against the suspects under relevant sections of the law.
The judge wrote in the order that the victim had recorded her statement under Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) while statements of the witnesses had also been recorded in the present case.
The judge noted that statements of the witnesses duly supported the statement of the complainant. “On careful examination of the statements recorded during preliminary inquiry it appears that the complainant in her statement stated that she is less than 13 years and she was not willing in the nikah with the accused.”
He further noted that the nikah was solemnized without her consent under pressure, coercion and influence.
The judge further observed that “since under the law the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 marriage of either party, who is less than 18-year is prohibited.”
The judge directed the office to issue bailable warrants for arrest of the nominated suspects in sum of Rs10,000 each, directing them to ensure their presence before the court on Oct 26.
The complainant was told to file a list of witnesses and obtain certified copies of the statements.
In May 2019, three suspects had easily escaped from the court after an additional district and sessions judge had recalled pre-arrest bail granted to them against a surety of Rs30,000 each.
The judge had noted that according to the case record the complainant was a minor. Recording her statement before the judicial magistrate, the victim had fully denied the acceptance of Islam and performing of her nikah with the accused.
The judge further stated that “she deposed that they (accused persons) forcibly obtained her signatures on plain papers and the co-accused committed Zinna with her”.