In probably the first of its kind judgement, a Pakistani court has nullified the marriage of a minor Hindu girl, who was converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in the country’s Sindh province.
Mehak Kumari, a class IX student, was allegedly abducted from Jacobabad district on January 15 by Ali Raza Solangi who later married her.
Her father filed an FIR, claiming that Solangi had abducted and married her forcibly. He also said her daughter was 15-year-old when she was abducted.
Additional Sessions Judge Ghulam Ali Kanasro ruled that Mehak, who took the Muslim name of Aliza to marry Solangi, was underage.
The couple, however, claimed that Mehak embraced Islam at a shrine after which they contracted a free-will marriage.
The Judge citing evidence and documents ruled that Mehak was underage and was not fit for marriage under section 3 and 4 of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act.
He directed Larkana’s senior police officials to take action against all those involved in conducting, facilitating and abetting the child marriage.
Kumari was brought to the court from a women’s shelter home from Larkana where she was sent on court orders soon after the couple was taken into custody.
Heavy security was witnessed in and around the court for the hearing to quell any unrest as local Hindu and Muslim leaders were present in town.
Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
Abduction and conversion of Hindu women has been a major issue in Sindh province where the majority of Pakistani Hindus live.