She is 16 years old
The Sindh High Court heard another child marriage case on Monday after disposing of the Arzoo Raja case.
The court has sent the young woman to a shelter home after a medical committee confirmed that she was 16 years old. The law prohibits the marriage of anyone under the age of 18 years in Sindh.
She has been allowed to meet whomever she wants to.
The teenager had married a man named Fazal three weeks ago.
On October 13, Raja Masih, father of Arzoo Raja, filed an FIR after his daughter was kidnapped from her house in Railway Colony. The police found that she had been married to 41-year-old Syed Ali Azhar. For his part, Azhar presented a nikkahnama, free-will affidavit, and a Sanad-e-Islam certificate.
Her parents then approached a judicial magistrate seeking her protective custody. They argued that consummation of child marriage is tantamount to statutory rape and is outlawed under Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 5 of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006.
The nikkahnama doesn’t have any particulars of her age or CNIC copy. It doesn’t have the medical certificate needed to prove a person is 18 in case there is no CNIC either.
Arzoo’s parents say she was forced to file a petition in the Sindh High Court on October 27 in which she claimed that she married Ali of her own free will and converted to Islam. On November 2, she was recovered on the orders of the Sindh High Court and shifted to a shelter home. Her husband was arrested and remanded into police custody.
The court ruled on November 9 that this was a child marriage and barred Ali from meeting her at the shelter home. Raja is now being kept at the shelter home till she turns 18 and the Sindh government has been instructed to pay her expenses.