A cleric, who is being nominated in a case related to the alleged kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage of the underage girl Arzoo Raja, was granted a pre-arrest bail on Thursday by a local court in Karachi on bail of Rs 50,000.
Qazi Abdul Rasool received temporary bail until November 16 after he approached the court today. She is accused of formalizing the marriage of Arzoo Raja, a teenage Christian girl who was allegedly kidnapped before being forced to convert and marry a Muslim man. The case is currently being heard by local courts, while another case for Arzoo custody is ongoing at the Sindh High Court (SHC).
In his bail plea, Rasool said that the accusations that Arzoo’s father brought against him were based on “mala fide intentions with ulterior motives”. He denied engaging in any illegal acts or committing any offense.
Rasool told the court that Arzoo and Ali Azhar – who had married him – came to him on October 13 with their lawyers to get married. The cleric said that Arzoo had also issued a written statement – which was attested by Justice of Peace – saying that the teenager entered into the marriage of his own accord. He also has a diploma to embrace Islam issued by a Mufti.
He said that he had formalized the marriage after going through documents presented by the parties. Rasool also said he had been told that Arzoo was 18 when he left his parents’ house. Earlier this week, a health council set up by SHC found that the victim was 14 years old.
The cleric said that there was a possibility of “illegal arrest” by the police and urged the court to give him bail. Earlier, police had notified the court that Rasool, along with two other people, were on the run.
Rasool said that the part mentioned in the first informational report did not apply to him because he had formalized the marriage “according to Sharia law” and alleged that the police tried to arrest him in a fake colluding case with whistleblowers by robbing. home and office continuously.
The key defendant was sent to court
Meanwhile, another local court sent Azhar, who was claimed to be Arzoo’s husband, to prison with judicial detention after investigating officers (IO) said that the suspect’s physical detention was no longer necessary. Azhar was presented before (Southern) Court Judge Muhammad Ali Dall after his physical detention had ended.
During the trial, Advocate Azhar Muhammad Nizar Tanoli argued that the entire trial process was against the fundamental principles of Islam, as Arzoo himself said before SHC that he was never kidnapped.
Lawyers for Muhammad Riaz Abbasi and Luke Victor, who appeared on behalf of the applicant – Arzoo’s father – as well as prosecutor Abdul Rehman Thaheem supported the investigative officer’s submission and asked for appropriate orders to be endorsed.
After hearing arguments from both sides’ advisers and pursuing case notes, the judge transferred Azhar to court custody with orders to bring him to court on November 16. IO is notified to file an investigative report at a later date.
In the FIR of the case registered against the complaint of Arzoo’s father, Raja, he claims that on October 13, he and his wife went to work while their son Shahbaz was attending school.
The king said his three daughters, including Arzoo, were present at their home in the Karachi Railway Colony when he received a call from a relative, who informed him that Arzoo was missing.
The king said he reached home and called his neighbors, but was unable to trace his daughter. He then filed a case regarding the kidnapping of his daughter against a stranger at the Frere Police Station.
Arzoo family members earlier this month informed Dawn that her self-confessed husband, Azhar, lives in a house opposite their house with her family and she is at least 45 years old.
“The scoundrel who kidnapped her has prepared fake documents to show that she is 18 years old,” said her mother.
Police have charged Azhar and arrested her brother, Syed Shariq Ali, Syed Mohsin Ali, and a friend, Danish, for allegedly kidnapping the underage girl, forcibly forcing and marrying her off to a Muslim man.
However, Arzoo has requested a court ruling against the FIR registration of her spouse and in-laws by her family at the Frere Police Station by filing a constitutional petition at SHC.
He petitioned that he converted to Islam against his free will and also asked his family members to convert to Islam but they refused.
On November 2, the SHC bench accepted the petition filed by the girl’s father and ordered the police to recover her and move her to a shelter. The police later found the girl that same day and transferred her to a shelter.
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