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Pakistan Court Says This Minor’s Forced Marriage Is Valid Because She Had Her First Menstrual Cycle. This Is Horrifying

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We often see time as a measure of change; often we assume that things improve with time. Like they say with wounds, that time can heal them. But nobody ever said time can add more cuts to the existing injury. We are constantly working to fight the evils of our society and make it a place safe and conducive for women to flourish and not be crushed under the feet of patriarchy. So we think, slowly and steadily, things are bound to get better. But every day, we read stories where it seems like this is being reversed, all the progress ever made dashed and our society is sprinting towards a time where a woman had rights equivalent to a goat’s.

It’s disheartening and disturbing to even imagine the plight of Huma Younus, a 14-year-old Catholic girl in Pakistan, who was abducted from her very home, converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man. She was living her life, going on with her daily activities, just like any of us. The next moment, her life has turned upside down and a minor is forced to become her perpetrator’s wife. It’s nothing short of a crime and you’d think that the authorities will see the evil in this case. They ask you to keep faith in the courts and the police, because isn’t it their job to safeguard its people?

You wish the authorities felt the same because they did nothing for this little girl except join in the crime. Her parents have not even be able see their young daughter since her abduction on 14th October, 2019. They’ve been moving the courts to prove that she is a minor and not an adult so the marriage shouldn’t even be valid.

Her parents have even submitted documentary evidence to prove her age, including a Catholic baptismal certificate and testimony from her school. And here, Pakistan’s court found a way to force this child to stay in that marriage. A two-member bench, including Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Irshad Ali hearing the case said that the marriage would be considered valid under the Islamic Shariah Law because she has had her first menstrual cycle.

What are these laws that makes it legal to abduct a minor, force her into Islam and marriage? If the court is going to support such acts, how are they not part of the crime? This is nothing but a further hazard to the safety of women in Pakistan. According to a report, at least 1,000 Hindu women between the ages of 12-28 are being subjected to forceful conversion and marriage in Pakistan. With this, the numbers will only inflate while the rights of women in that country will be reduced to zero. Not heartening.

When you’re legalising such marriages, you’re also give a green signal to marital rape. None of these girls with a husband forced upon them would like to consummate their marriage voluntarily. But like in anything else, they don’t have a say and will continue to be raped, day in and day out with no one to help them.

At 14, Huma is barely a woman. Even in India, where the roots of patriarchy run deep, the legal age for marriage for a girl is 18. This is also when she’s considered an adult. For someone as young as 14, this is a horrifying abuse of power.

Huma’s court hearing was on 3rd February at the Sindh High Court but she wasn’t there. Her parents think the authorities are waiting for her to turn 18, so they can simply close the case. “We believe that the government and the judges are delaying the decision because our girl is 14 years old. They want to wait for her to turn 18 and then close the case,” Huma’s mother said.

All of this is happening in the existence of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act that forbids marrying a minor. What is the point of this act when they want to rather pass a judgement based on the Shariah Law? Huma’s lawyer, Tabussum Yousaf, told ACN that these laws “are formulated and approved only to improve the image of the country in front of the international community, ask for development funds, and freely trade Pakistani products on the European market.” It’s such a shame!

ALSO READ: Hindu Girls In Pakistan Are Being Kidnapped, Forcibly Converted To Islam And Then Married Off To Muslim Men. Why Is No One Talking About This?

What do you expect from a country headed by Imran Khan? A man who blames mobile phones and Bollywood movies for sexual crimes. He is clearly not the kind to support progress. But what baffles me is that, he was the one who condemned child sexual abuse in his country. What is this, if not exactly that and more? Talk about double standards…

ALSO READ: Pakistan PM Imran Khan Blamed Bollywood And Mobile Phone For Sexual Crimes In His Country. What Is He High On?

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