By Sajid Bajeer
The Sindh High Court has allowed the Hindu girl Ravita Meghwar, who is given a Muslim name now Gulnaz Shah, to stay with her Muslim husband after she had given the statement in his favor.
According to Bhagwan Das Bheel, the counsel of the father of the girl, a single judge bench of the Hyderabad circuit passed the judgment allowing the girl to stay with her husband after hearing the girl.
Justice Panhwar had heard the girl, her father Satram Meghwar’s counsel Bhagwan Das and advocate Ali Palh, a human rights activist, before adjourning the matter.
The couple had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court seeking protection. The father of the girl had also submitted a petition in the same court demanding the release of his underage daughter.
Earlier, the court had ordered to send the girl to Darul Iman shelter where she was brought to stay as per the direction of the court.
While giving her statement at the court today, Ravita now Gulnaz said that she had embraced Islam of her own free will. She further said that she is happily living with her husband and wants to go with him.
Bhagwan Das Bheel, the counsel of Satram Meghwar, argued that her primary school certificate, which puts her age at 16, was enough to prove that she was underage. It amply shows that she had not attained the age of marriage.
Advocate Ali Palh, a human rights activist and the counsel for the intervener in the case, contended before the court that the Child Marriage Restraint Act would be defeated if the underage girl was allowed to live with her husband.
Zahoor A Baloch, the counsel of the couple, argued that the girl had attained the age of puberty and according to the Islamic law she is an adult after reaching puberty.
Last week, the family of the girl from a village in Nagarparkar, had alleged that the girl had been kidnapped from her home and forcibly converted to Islam before marrying her off to a Muslim man Syed Nawaz Ali Shah.
The court has forwarded both petitions to the divisional bench of SHC which will resume hearing on June 30, 2017.
Sajid Bajeer is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Tharparkar.