The parents of a 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl, who was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to her abductor, will approach the Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that marriage with an underage girl is valid as per the Sharia law if she has had her first menstrual cycle.
In October last year, Huma was 14 when she was abducted and forced to marry her abductor Abdul Jabbar after being converted to Islam, according to her parents Younis and Nagheena Masih.
Their counsel Tabassum Yousuf on Friday said they would seek justice from the Supreme Court after the Sindh High Court, as per the Sharia law, said earlier this week that even if the girl, Huma, was found to be underage, the marriage between her and her alleged abductor, Jabbar, would be valid as she has already had her first menstrual cycle.
After they approached the Sindh High Court to see their daughter, the court, in a hearing on February 3, ordered the police to oversee the tests to confirm her age.
However, Judges Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali observed that under the Sharia law, the marriage would be valid even if Huma was underage. Tabbasum said that the ruling was not in accordance with the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act passed in 2014 which outlawed marriages of girls under 18 years, in a bid to stop forced marriages of minors in the province, primarily of Hindu and Christian community.
“The girl’s parents were convinced that the police investigating officer was supporting Abdul Jabbar and his family. They also fear that the test results of Huma’s age could be falsified and she might be sent with her husband,” the lawyer said.
The parents had requested to keep Huma at a women’s shelter away from her alleged husband until her age was determined. Tabassum said the parents produced documents including the church, school documents confirming Huma’s age to be 14.
On the website of the Independent Catholic News, the girl’s mother has appealed to the international community to support them.
The latest case has emerged amidst an increasing number of forcible conversions of girls belonging to the minority communities in Muslim-majority Pakistan. In the last one month, at least two cases of forced conversion and marriage of Hindu girls after abduction have emerged in the province.