Police in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi arrested a man on Monday for allegedly abducting and forcibly converting a teenage Christian girl, before marrying her. Murtaza Wahab, a spokesperson for the Sindh government confirmed that the girl was recovered from the custody of the man on the orders of the Sindh High Court, which has directed authorities to medically confirm her age and produce her before it at the next hearing on Thursday.
Police have arrested Syed Ali Azhar, the girl’s alleged husband, his brothers Syed Shariq Ali, Syed Mohsin Ali and a friend, Danish, for allegedly abducting the girl and forcibly converting her. Karachi police chief Additional IG Arif Hanif said the 13-year-old girl was recovered from the custody of Azhar safely.
The girl was sent to a shelter home on the directives of the court, he added. The alleged abduction of the 13-year-old girl last month had sparked protests by human rights groups against her “forced” conversion and underage marriage with a Muslim man.
After a hearing on Monday, the court ordered the police to recover the girl and shift her to a shelter home. Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir, who is part of the legal team fighting the case on behalf of the girl’s parents, said the court has also ordered that before the next date of hearing, a medical test be conducted to confirm the girl’s age.
The court noted that the issues to be addressed are the girl’s age, whether she was forcibly converted and if her marriage was legal, Nasir said. He added that the girl’s parents had filed an FIR after she went missing from their house on October 13 when they were at work.
“They have said that their neighbour, Azhar Ali, who is 45 years old, had abducted the girl, prepared her false age certificate saying she was 18 and married her forcibly,” Nasir said.