Protests in Pakistan Over ‘Forcible Conversion’ of Catholic Minor

The family claims fake papers created to show that the girl is 18 years old, while she is actually 13.

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World
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Her family claims that Arzoo’s purported husband Ali lived in the house opposite to their’s along with his family.
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Several people took to streets in Karachi on Wednesday, 28 October, to protest against the alleged abduction and forced conversion of a 13-year-old Christian girl.

Arzoo Raja was kidnapped from her home and forced to marry a 44-year-old man who made her convert to Islam, reports in Pakistan media indicate.

  • Arzoo was allegedly abducted from outside her home in Karachi’s Railway Colony on 13 October, while her parents were at work, a report in Dawn states. Her family member lodged a case of abduction by unknown people.
  • Police claim to have detained the accused Syed Azhar Ali and his two brothers and a friend, who are said to be police officials themselves, the Dawn report said.
  • Her family claims that Arzoo's purported husband Ali lived in the house opposite to their's along with his family, the report adds.
  • The family claims that Ali has created fake papers to show that Arzoo is 18 years old, while her birth certificate shows she was born in 2007, the Dawn report said.
  • According to the defence counsel, the girl has stated that she married Ali out of her own free-will and has embraced Islam without any fear or pressure.
  • On 27 October, the Sindh High Court validated the child marriage and refrained police from arresting the prime suspect.
  • Based on her statement, the court granted Ali and his all co-accused bail against a surety of Rs 50,000 each.
  • PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday, 30 October, said that the Sindh government will approach the relevant courts to seek a review in the case.
  • According to UNICEF data, 18 percent of girls in Pakistan are married before their 18th birthday and 4 percent are married before the age of 15.

(With inputs from DAWN and Asianet.)

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