Says society has shrunk into 'social crisis because of mullahs'
On November 11, a man was arrested for gang-raping a woman and her four-year-old daughter in Kashmore. The case shook the nation.
Three days after the crime was reported, a video of a cleric, identified as Tariq Masood from the Deoband sect, encouraging child marriages surfaced on social media.
In the video, the cleric is seen promising to marry his followers to a “young unmarried woman if they marry three widows or/and divorced women”.
“If you do this, by god, I promise you I will marry you to a 16-year-old girl,” Masood said. “If not a 16-year-old, I will marry you to two eight-year-old girls and if not that I will marry you to four four-year-old girls.”
Following the remark, the cleric and his followers broke out into laughter.
Under the Pakistan Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 the minimum legal age of marriage is 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys.
After the video went viral on social media, a number of people spoke up against the cleric and expressed anger over his remarks. “While the nation cries for the four-year-old child raped in Kashmore, here’s a man arranging marriages with eight-year-olds and four-year-olds,” a man tweeted.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter and called out the cleric as well.
“Because of these mullahs, our society has sunk into a terrible social crisis. Hundreds of people listen to their ignorant talks and are affected,” the politician said.
“The state has been playing the role of a silent spectators. Our assembly has not been able to impose a ban,” Chaudhry regretted.
Police said a group of suspects lured the woman, who is from Karachi, with the promise of a Rs40,000 job in Kashmore. The woman and suspects met at a hospital in Karachi.
The FIR says that the woman was offered a job on October 25. She travelled there with the men and her four-year-old daughter. The men then detained the pair at prime suspect Rafique Malak’s residence in Kashmore and gang-raped the woman.
They then released her but kept her daughter, telling her to bring the woman who was with her during their meeting at the hospital in exchange for the child. They threatened to murder her daughter if the woman did not comply.
The woman approached the police in Kashmore, who conducted a raid at Malak’s residence. Malak confessed to the crime. Another suspect in the case has also been arrested.
A case was registered against Malak at the Kashmore police station under sections 376 (rape), 344 (wrongful confinement), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. It has been registered on behalf of the State. Sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act have now also been included.
The four-year-old child’s condition has become critical once again and she was initially shifted from the Chandka Medical Hospital in Larkana to the Children Hospital’s Emergency Ward and later shifted via ambulance to Karachi. She is being shifted to the Aga Khan University Hospital with her mother, according to the CMH administration.