Arzoo Raja is just 14, it’s a case of child marriage: Pakistan court    

NEW DELHI Published: Nov 09, 2020, 05:29 PM(IST)

Arzoo’s parents said she is 13 years old and presented NADRA documents to support this. Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

On October 13, 2020, a 13-year-old girl, Arzoo Raja, was allegedly abducted from outside her house in Karachi, Pakistan. She was allegedly kidnapped by her 44-year-old neighbour Ali Azhar who forced her into marrying him and converting into Islam.

A Pakistani court has found that the case of 13-year-old Christian girl Arzoo Raza's marriage to 44-year-old Ali Azhar is child marriage, reports Pak media.

Medical experts have said that Karachi teenager Arzoo Raja is no older than 14 years, leading judges to declare that it would appear to be a child marriage then.

The court had formed a five-member board to determine her age. Arzoo’s parents said she is 13 years old and presented NADRA documents to support this. The court found the documents to be true and said that this appears to be a child marriage case. 

National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) is responsible for issuing the computerized national identity cards to the citizens of Pakistan.

On October 13, 2020, a 13-year-old girl, Arzoo Raja, was allegedly abducted from outside her house in Karachi, Pakistan. She was allegedly kidnapped by her 44-year-old neighbour Ali Azhar who forced her into marrying him and converting into Islam.

The parents of the 13-year old were later told by police that she had converted to Islam according to her own free will and married her 44-year-old abductor Ali Azhar. Arzoo’s family lodged a police complaint and filed a petition in a local court to seek her safe return.

Following this, in a shocking ruling on October 27, the Sindh High Court validated the child marriage and refrained police from arresting the prime suspect.

The girl's mother Rita Masih said she and her family had been threatened by men in civilian attire on court premises.

Abductions forced conversions and forced marriages of girls and women from the minorities background has become a serious concern in Pakistan. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 -- mostly Hindu and Christian -- girls are abducted, forcibly converted and forcibly married every year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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