Ravita Meghwar — who her parents alleged had been abducted by men from the Syed community of Wanharo village near Nagarparkar, Thar, on June 6 and forcibly converted to Islam — on Thursday told the Sindh High Court Circuit Bench, Hyderabad in a written statement that she wants to live with her husband.

Ravita denied being abducted or forced to convert, saying she was "in love" with Nawaz Shah and maintaining that her parents' claims were false.

Nawaz Ali Shah, the 'husband', in his statement said that they first met in their village, where he gave her a mobile phone to establish a communication channel. They remained connected through the device and decided to get married later.

Bhagwandas, the counsel for Ravita's father, argued that the girl may have given the statement under pressure since she was currently with Nawaz Shah.

After hearing both sides, Justice Salahuddin Panhwar decided to send Ravita, alias Gulnaz, to Darul Aman for a day where she will be able to see her mother.

June 23 has been set as the date for next hearing in the case.

Ravita had earlier claimed to have embraced Islam in the presence of Pir Mohammad Ayub Jan Farooqui, a preacher, near the Samarro town of Umerkot district.

According to the marriage certificate issued by the preacher, a copy of which is available with Dawn, "The girl is approximately eighteen years old, can marry the person of her choice and her Islamic name is Gulnaz".

The Hindu community, along with the girl's family, had previously alleged that she was kidnapped and forced to convert. School documents indicated her current age is 16 years.

Satram Das Meghwar, Ravita's father, had alleged that the abductors had kidnapped his daughter after giving sleeping pills to the family.

However, Ravita's parents say they will withdraw the case if she chooses to remain with her husband of her free will.

Nonetheless, Advocate Ali Palh of Rightsnow Pakistan, which is a party to the case, maintains that Ravita is underage and her marriage was in contradiction with Article 20 of Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. Therefore, her marriage should be declared null and void, he has argued in his petition.

He added that Rightsnow had used the case of Anjali and Peshawar Church as a precedent in their case.

"Even if her parents withdraw the case, Rightsnow will continue to fight as her certificates and physical appearance are proofs that she is a minor," Palh said while talking to Dawn.com.

Ravita's alleged abduction and protests had stirred protests by Hindu community and activist groups in Sindh.

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