SHC order shifting 13 year old Arzoo to shelter home

KARACHI: The Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari on Monday said that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered that Arzoo — a 13 year old Christian girl who was allegedly abducted before being forcefully converted and married to a Muslim man — be recovered by police and shifted to a shelter home.

“The judge has ordered the girl be recovered by police and relevant agencies and shifted to a shelter home. Next hearing fixed for Thursday morning [November 5]. My lawyer has informed the court that an intervener will be filed on my behalf,” she said on Twitter.

Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir — who is part of the legal team fighting the case on behalf of Arzoo’s parents — also confirmed the development, adding that the SHC had directed that the girl be produced before the court at the next hearing. Speaking to Dawn.com, he said the court in the meantime has ordered that a medical test be conducted to determine the girl’s age.

The court noted that issues to be addressed are the girl’s age, whether she was forcibly converted and if her marriage is legal, he said.

“I trust the Sindh government and the police would use all resources at their disposal” to recover Arzoo, he said.

“To save our children, the government, judiciary, lawyers, civil society and the media should all be on the same page. We all need to play our respective roles effectively,” he said.

“Glad both the Sindh government and the federal government want to pursue #JusticeForArzoo. There is a lot to learn from the injustices committed in this case first by the accused and then by our governance system. With both governments on board hope this case will become ground for renewed focus on child rights,” he added.

Arzoo is 13 years old according to her parents.

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab added that the court had issued the directives on an application filed by the provincial government.

The alleged abduction of 13-year-old Arzoo last month had sparked protests from human rights groups against her purported forced conversion and underage marriage with a Muslim man.

According to the first information report of the case registered on his complaint, Arzoo’s father Raja stated that on October 13, he and his wife went to work while their son Shahbaz had gone to school. The complainant said his three daughters, including Arzoo, were present at their home in Railway Colony when he received a call from a relative, who told him that Arzoo was missing from the house.

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