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Pakistan court separates Afghan elopers

Published Jul 31, 2012 10:17am


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Afghan couple Hewad (C), 22, and Mariyam Marjman (3rd L), who fled Kabul last month to marry for love in Pakistan, leave after a court hearing in Peshawar on July 23, 2012. – AFP

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani judge on Tuesday separated a runaway Afghan couple who married for love after a disabled man appeared in court purporting to be the woman's first husband.

It was an about turn for the judge, who last week appeared to accept that Mariyam and Hewad married legitimately by ordering that they be protected and given accommodation together in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar.

Mariyam and Hewad, both 22, said they fled Kabul last month to wed in the leafy town of Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan, where US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

The woman said her parents wanted her to marry her dead sister's husband and that if she is sent back to Afghanistan she would probably be murdered for marrying someone of her own choice.

On Tuesday, her mother and brother appeared in court with the 48-year-old man in a wheel chair claiming he was her real husband.

Her mother Raazia, 65, told AFP that Mariyam had consented to the match and married him six and a half years ago. Two years later, the man had a stroke and has been left partially paralysed, she said.

“The court should hand over the girl to us, we will not kill her,” Raazia said.

Judge Dost Muhammad Khan referred the matter to a family court, ordering Mariyam into a women's shelter and sending Hewad for questioning.

The case should be decided “within 40 days”, said Khan, who intervened personally after media reports said the woman's life was in danger.

Hewad, who like many Afghans goes by one name, also told AFP last week that he faced serious threats from Mariyam's family.

“I am sure they can harm me here and if we are sent back to Afghanistan, they will simply shoot us,” he said.

Despite progress in recent years and improved legal protection, women suffer chronic rights abuses in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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Comments (12) Closed

Cyrus Howell Jul 31, 2012 03:06pm
It is all about the money.
G.a Jul 31, 2012 01:19pm
Let the disabled man produce a marriage certificate and then give an option to the girl if she wants a divorce. Islam allows free will and no family member or judge can force this marriage on her. If Pakistan is unwilling or unable to protect them then they should be sent to a third country.
zamira Jul 31, 2012 02:14pm
well, i am happy to see my brothers here commenting and am not 100% sure if each of you studied Islam properly but i can only say that humanity came before religion and as far as i know a little about Islam gave the full right to woman to take her decisions.
Agha Ata Jul 31, 2012 12:53pm
If the woman doesn’t want to be his first husband’s wife, let her be divorced and marry the man she loves. Simple
Abdullah Hussain Jul 31, 2012 10:42am
Although I will not comment about the affairs between the two or the case that is going on in the court but I cannot keep mum on the marriage of a 22 years old girt with comparatively a much older man. Parents are also accountable for forcing their young daughters to marry older men. In my opinion the girl should be given a choice whether she wants to live with 48 years old disabled man. Allah will not pardon those who force their will on young girls to sacrifice their happiness to please their parent or guardians
ujmalik Jul 31, 2012 10:28am
Unfortunately they can be even harmed in Pakistan thanks to the porous border, but talking on pure Humanitarian basis they should be given Asylum and protection at earliest. That said, even if the girl's family is right in what they are saying - it is very unfortunate to see how Muslim women are not able to seek divorce from someone they do not wish to be with any more. Makes you wonder if the Islam I learned about even exists anywhere!
Keti Zilgish Jul 31, 2012 11:57am
I would be glad to know whether such cases were happening and being reported in the press during the presidency of Zia-ul-Haq?
Bhairav Khan Mia Jul 31, 2012 11:37am
very very unfortunate . Girls, women in this society don't have the right to talk/discuss/ vent their feelings. How long would you all keep mum...enough is enough...a dire need to help, protect, energize the community and young boys/males must start working towards restoring the right to speak for females in this part of the world. In the garb of religion, intolerance and domination by males is perpetrated. Should be stopped forthwith for better standard of society and for the sake of future children of this country.
Badar Jul 31, 2012 11:10am
Its hard to believe a 16 years old Afghan girl would have consented to marry a 42 years old man. It must have been a forced marriage. Such parents are worst enemies of their kids
Tanvir Jul 31, 2012 04:42pm
Yes. You are very right.
Tanvir Jul 31, 2012 04:46pm
Let's say that it's not the choice she needs, in fact she should have the RIGHT to divorce this old sick man whom she was forced to marry by her parents at her young age. If two persons are not happily married, it's not a marriage. It's worst than slavery.
V.K. Tandon Jul 31, 2012 11:05pm
well said. I salute this commentator.