In a new development in the case of 13-year-old Arzoo Raja, a local court has dismissed a plea, which was seeking issuance of orders to send the young girl to a shelter home.
The father of Arzoo Raja, moved the application pleading the court to send the teenager to a shelter home instead of her alleged 44-year-old husband. He added that she wasn’t safe with him.
Lawyer Jibran Nasir highlighted that Arzoo was only a teenager, and the police had incorporated provisions of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013. He said that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had not stopped the trial court from exercising powers under the law, pleading the magistrate to shift the girl to safety.
Setting the plea aside, South judicial magistrate Muhammad Ali Dall said that the SHC had already ordered the Preedy SHO to provide security to Arzoo.
Prior to its ruling, the court also directed the investigation officer (IO), Inspector Shariq Ahmed Siddiqui, on Nasir’s request, to verify Arzoo’s birth certificate and B-form through NADRA. The IO presented documents that were verified by NADRA, and confirmed that she was indeed only 13 years old.
According to Raja, Arzoo was kidnapped from their house in Railway Quarters.
“We have been living in the area for the past 10 years”, he said. He added that Syed Ali Azhar, the alleged kidnapper was above 40 years old.
The kidnapper lived near their house and was an employee of the Sindh government, and had abducted Arzoo with the help of his brothers Shariq and Mohsin, and a friend.
A judigical magistrate granted brail to Azhar’s brothers and friend, while the SHC restrained the police from arresting Azhar himself.
The case of Arzoo Raja
Arzoo Raja is a Christian girl, who was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to a 44-year-old man. Her abductor claimed she is 18 years old, and that she converted to Islam by her free will to marry him.
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