Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – A ‘Hindu’ girl whose family claimed that she was kidnapped, forced into marriage with a Muslim man and forcibly converted to Islam recited the Kalma in court room to prove to her family that she had willingly converted to Islam.

Twenty-one year old Maria, while appearing before Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court contended that she had converted to Islam of her own volition and no one compelled her to do so.

At this moment, an uncle of the girl named Kishan Lal requested the court to keep her in Darul Aman and a meeting between the girl and her parents should be arranged before recording her statement.

While referring to the minority status of Hindus in Pakistan, he said that thousands of Hindus were living in Pakistan; their girls were being kidnapped and converted to Islam which is “injustice” and should be redressed.

“We are also Pakistanis, we should also be provided justice,” he said.

To this, Justice Siddiqui remarked that all the citizens belonging to any religion were equal before the law.

He, however, inquired ‘when will Karo-Kari end’ adding that a girl should not be killed just because she has accepted Islam and exercised her free will to marry.

On the request for a meeting with parents, Justice Siddiqui directed to arrange a meeting between the girl and her parents on the next date of hearing – August 25 and ordered police protection for the couple till then.

In the previous hearing, the court directed the Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police to provide protection to a couple marrying of their free will, keep them at some secure place and produce them before the court with police escort on August 18.

Justice Siddiqui also issued a notice to the secretary Ministry of Interior with directions to depute a responsible officer to appear before court and explain the arrangements that could be made to protect the lives of the couple.

In compliance, a deputy secretary of MoI appeared before the court whom the court directed to contact IG Sindh and home secretary and convey court’s directions.