Pakistani justice validates 14-year-old Christian’s forced marriage to Muslim who kidnapped her

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A 14-year-old Pakistani Christian was abducted by a Muslim, converted and forcibly married to him in October. The girl’s parents brought the matter to justice. The High Court, basing itself on the Sharia, nevertheless validated their union.

Huma Younous could become the symbol of a practice still widespread in Pakistan: the abduction of young Christians by Muslims. At 14, she was abducted on October 10 by a man, Abdul Jabbar, who converted her and forced her to marry him. The parents tried to recover their daughter through legal proceedings, but on February 3, the High Court of the province of Sindh validated this union, reported The cross.

The court justified its decision by citing sharia law, which says that a girl can marry at her first period. In some provinces of Pakistan, a country with a large majority of Muslims, Islamic law still prevails over others.

Parents’ lawyer Tabassum Yousaf relied on the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which aims to limit the marriage of minors, to no avail.

“This is the umpteenth defeat of justice and further proof that the state does not care much about Christians as Pakistani citizens,” she said.

Voted in 2014, this law has never been applied yet, and it was in the case of Huma Younous that its application was requested for the first time. According to the defense, it was adopted “for the sole purpose of improving the image of the country in international opinion and obtaining development aid funds”.

They couldn’t see their daughter in court

according to The cross, Huma currently resides 600 kilometers from her parents’ home, and has been deprived of all contact with her family. The court requested the girl’s presence at the previous hearing on January 16, but she was absent.

The police officer in charge of the investigation, Akhtar Hussain, only confirmed that she had been summoned. The latter is suspected of collusion with the kidnapper, especially as Huma was asked to sign a statement in court on January 9 to indicate that she was of legal age. A summons of which neither the lawyer nor the parents had been informed.

At the end of the hearing, the parents spoke to the media and appealed to the international community: “If your 14-year-old daughter went through all this, what would you do? How much would you suffer? Consider our daughter as your daughter. Please help us! “.

A recurring phenomenon in Pakistan

The Huma case is the first case of forced conversion and marriage brought before the High Court in Karachi, the capital of the province where the parents reside. However, this is a widespread practice in this country which has three million Christians, or only 2% of its population.

“So far, no family has been able to seek justice because the majority of Christians are poor and poorly educated and cannot afford legal aid,” said the lawyer.

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