ISLAMABAD: A magistrate has ordered police to take action against a man who allegedly married an underage girl after her conversion to Islam. The 14-year-old girl* has been staying in a government shelter (Darul Amaa) since December 12, 2017.
Parents say the girl, who as per the NADRA record is only 12 years old, went missing from their home in New Shakrial, Islamabad on November 27, 2017. The family approached the police but the very next day they were informed that their daughter had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man from the same locality.
The marriage was contracted on November 28, 2017, and the hand-written marriage certificate mentioned her age as 18 years while in fact she was only 12-year-old.
Thought the girl and her in-laws submitted an affidavit in which the girl said she was 18 and had converted to Islam of her own volition, the girl’s parents contest this and maintain that she was forced to convert. They also accused that Sagheer Ismaeel, the suspect, kidnapped and married her after forced conversion. They have produced her birth certificated issued by the NADRA which shows May 20, 2005 as her date of birth.
The girl in her statement before a magistrate said she was 16 but a medical examination of her at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences found her radiological age to be 14 years, plus or minus six months. Following the medical report and the NADRA record, the magistrate termed her a minor under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, and has ordered police to take action against those responsible for the underage marriage.
*NAME WITHHELD TO PROTECT IDENTITY
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2018.
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