Husband’s plea for Arzoo’s custody dismissed

Published January 16, 2021
In this file photo, Arzoo’s parents hold up her picture.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
In this file photo, Arzoo’s parents hold up her picture.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: A family court has dismissed a suit instituted by the alleged husband of a teenage Christian girl, Arzoo, seeking her custody.

Syed Ali Azhar along with his brothers Syed Mohsin Ali and Syed Shariq Ali and their friend Danish has been charged with kidnapping the teenage girl and subjecting her to rape.

A cleric, Qazi Abdul Rasool, Junaid Ali Siddiqui and Mehmood Hassan have also been charged with facilitating allegedly forced conversion of Arzoo and solemnising her underage marriage with Azhar.

Ali Azhar, who was recently released on bail, had instituted a suit submitting that he married Arzoo on Oct 12, 2020 against a dower of Rs50,000.

The plaintiff submitted that Arzoo, who belonged to Christian faith, embraced Islam by exercising her right of majority and contracted nikah with him.

He submitted that the family of the girl lodged a criminal case regarding her kidnapping against him, therefore, he was arrested while the Sindh High Court sent the girl to a shelter home while hearing a petition filed by her parents.

Advocate Nizar Tanoli submitted that after his release on bail his client tried to contact Arzoo when he came to know that she would not be allowed to meet him under the orders of the high court.

He argued that the plaintiff was facing difficulties in taking care of his family being a single male member.

Therefore, he pleaded to the court to direct the defendant Arzoo to join him as his legally wedded wife.

After hearing arguments from the parties, the family Judge Salman Amjad Siddiqui dismissed the suit.

The judge observed that the father of the girl, who joined the proceedings as intervener, had disclosed the facts of the events and the subsequent proceedings initiated in the SHC.

The judge noted that the SHC’s Nov 9 order was self-explanatory, as the court had already held the plaintiff liable for having violated deterring provisions of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act. In the same order, the SHC had expressly disallowed the alleged husband (plaintiff) from meeting with Arzoo while she was directed to be confined in the shelter home.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021

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