#Civil Rights

Pakistani Christians across the globe have been holding protests calling for the Justice for 13 year old Arzoo Raja from Karachi Railway Colony, who was abducted on October 13th from her home by her next door neighbour.

Her father Raja who had started work at 7.30 am, had to hurry back to his home after he received a call from his neighbour Jameel, who informed him that his other children and neighbours were searching for Arzoo. After some time searching, Raja later went to Frere Police Station and registered a missing persons report. He and his Rita spent all night praying for the return of their daughter.

Days later local police called the parents back to the police station and informed them that Arzoo had been married to a 44 year old Muslim neighbour named Ali Azher, and that she had willingly converted to Islam. When the parents exclaimed that Arzoo was only 13 years of age, the easily duped or completely complicit police then shared a falsified birth certificate, which suggested that Arzoo was 18 years of age and sham marriage certificate (NIkkah).

When the family challenged the marriage through the courts on October 27th, the Sindh High Court ruled the marriage was valid and that Azhar would not be arrested. The Judge also ruled that the couple should be protected from any harassment or threat. Worse still the family of Arzoo where prevented from entering the courts with their prosecution team by Police and Rangers (military police), an action believed to be undertaken as family members of Ali Azher are police officers and a natural bias against Christians.

Hannah Chowdhry, spokesperson for British Asian Christian Association, said:

"I am very aware of the situation that young Pakistani Christian girls face, many are prevented the joy and discipline of school, as parents choose safety over a good education.

"Is it a wonder then, that so many Pak-Christian girls are illiterate and end up being abused in domestic cleaning jobs, sadly the very protection that parents attempt is the trigger for years of suffering.

"I have spoken of this on many occasions, at various public events over the last three years, yet the situation remains the same, the Pakistani Government, their police and Judiciary turn a blind-eye, allowing sexual predators a sense of immunity.

She added:

"Arzoo's plight reminds us of the low value of Christian girls in Pakistan, who become easy prey for empowered Muslim men who can steer the authorities away from justice.

"A facet of Pakistan's Islamic identity that traps girls with their abusers, coupled with the violence and threats that make it often impossible to escape.

"In my role with BACA I have spoken to several extremely broken victims who we have helped escaped forced marriages - with great difficulty.

"Freedom is not all it's cut out to be, often they have to fight cultural dishonour to regain their place in society - this too must change!

Lord Alton of Liverpool, said:

"How can a 13 years old child who does not understand her own religion, decide in a couple of days to comprehensively understand Islam and convert overnight?

"How was the marriage allowed between a 44 years old man and a 13 years old girl, while Pakistan's 'Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929' states that the minimum marriageable age in Pakistan is 16 and the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 stipulates that any party to marriage must be at least 18 years of age in Sindh?

"Why did the Sindh High Court judge not look at the irrefutable evidence of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) birth record confirming her age to be 13 years old?

We the undersigned petition the Pakistani Government and Judiciary to free Arzoo from her abductor and reunite her with her family, ensuring they are fully protected.

We call for Ali Azher to be arrested for kidnap, rape of a minor and forced marriage and to given the strictest of sentencing.

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The Free 13year old Christian girl from forced Islamic marriage with 44 Year old paedophile in Pakistan petition to 10,000 was written by Admin Person and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.