'Menstruating Girl Not Underage As Per Sharia': Pak Court Upholds 'Forced' Marriage Of Minor Christian Girl
A 14-year-old Pakistani Catholic girl, Huma, who was abducted from her residence in Karachi, has been made to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man named Abdul Jabbar.
Her parents who have been fighting her case in the Sindh High Courts have not seen their daughter since October 14 last year - the day she was kidnapped.
The case took a dramatic turn on February 3 when two-member bench consisting of Judges Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali observed that under the Sharia law, the marriage would be valid even if Huma was underage as she has already had her first menstrual cycle.
The girl's parents have said that they will seek justice from the Supreme Court after the Sindh High Court upheld the forced marriage of their daughter.
The judges maintained that if the girl has already had her first 'menstrual cycle', then she would be considered an adult under the Islamic Shariah Law, making her marriage with her abductor legal and justified.
The parents' counsel, Tabassum Yousuf, said that the court's 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.
"We were in a state of shock when the judges did not consider our evidence and referred to Sharia Law to justify the marriage", said Huma's father. "We were expecting to see our daughter at the court hearing. We haven't been able to see her since her abduction on October 14. We also hoped that the court would deliver justice and hand us the custody of our daughter," he added.
Her parents have maintained that they had already provided documentary evidence, including a Catholic baptismal certificate and testimony from her school to show that she is a 14-year-old. Her parents say that she was born on May 22, 2005.
However, the ruling has left them heartbroken. "The 'Judges' remarks really broke my heart," the 14-year-old girl's mother said. The court has allotted four weeks to determine the age of the girl. The next hearing in the case is on March 3.
Underage girls from the minority communities in the Sindh province are consistently under threat of forced conversions. Last month, at least two cases of forced conversion and marriage of Hindu girls after abduction have emerged in the province.