Underage marriage: SHC disposes of Arzoo’s petition seeking protection from FIR against alleged husband

Statesman Report

KARACHI: Sindh High Court on Monday disposed of a petition pertaining to abduction, forced conversion, and marriage of 14-year-old Arzoo Raja to 44-year-old Syed Ali Azhar.

Arzoo and her alleged husband had approached the high court seeking a restraining order against an FIR filed by the minor’s parents against Azhar. The petition was being heard by a two-member bench comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito.

In Monday’s hearing, the bench was informed by the police that some suspects named in the charge-sheet had procured pre-arrest bail while two were absconding. In response, the court reminded the police that it was their job to find the absconding suspects. The court once again asked Arzoo if she wanted to return to her parents. She replied in the negative.

Irked by Arzoo’s counsel’s insistence, the high court warned that it would initiate contempt of court proceedings against the lawyer if he did not stop instructing the bench. “We have decided. You may approach the Supreme Court if you want.”

The court ordered that Arzoo will remain at the shelter home and directed the government to manage her education and other needs. The bench also ordered the interior ministry to provide counselling to the minor and disposed of the petition.

The bench also directed the police to conduct a transparent investigation and submit a report to the lower court for hearing the case.