The Afghan couple: Maryam wins despite lack of evidence

Published: July 28, 2013

Runaway Afghan couple Maryam and Haiwad’s ordeal finally came to an end. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

PESHAWAR: 

It took over a year to resolve a conjugal rights dispute between Afghan nationals Abdul Rehman, and the couple Haiwad and Maryam.  But in an astonishing turn of events on Saturday, Haiwad was declared Maryam’s lawful husband even though the case seemed heavily stacked against them.

The decision was announced by Family Court Judge Kiran Shaukat after hearing arguments from both parties. A detailed judgment will be announced in the next few days.

Armed with evidence, petitioner Abdul Rehman had challenged Maryam’s marriage to Haiwad – Rehman produced a nikah form as well as eye witnesses to his alleged marriage to Maryam. Haiwad and Maryam could not rustle up nearly as much proof, but for reasons still unknown, the verdict went in their favour.

The controversy first surfaced in June 2012 when Rehman and his brothers were arrested in Abbottabad for allegedly extending death threats to Haiwad. All were arrested and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act.

Haiwad maintained Maryam’s parents were preparing to wed her off to Rehman against her consent when the couple eloped to Pakistan and tied the knot in Abbottabad in May 2012. Rehman’s family was quick to locate them and threaten their safety.

The media took note, then the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and the case was transferred to its jurisdiction from Abbottabad. After a few case hearings, on July 31 PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, directed a family court to decide the case on its merits within ‘40’ days.

In the interim period, the woman’s own mother and brother showed up as witness for the prosecution. The registrar who supervised the nikah recorded his statement against Maryam and Haiwad.

DNA tests were called for after Rehman claimed Maryam was the mother of his two children Saba and Husna. The results matched Saba and Husna as Maryam’s real daughters, contrary to her claims the children belonged to her dead sister, who was married to Rehman.

Forty days become a year, during which “the Afghan couple” (a handle given to them by the media) did not relent, persisting with fresh legal avenues. And they were handed a favourable verdict on Saturday.

“After producing all relevant records to the court, [Rehman] was hoping the decision would be announced in his party’s favour but he was astonished to hear orders in favour of Haiwad,” Rehman’s attorney Ijaz Sabi told The Express Tribune.

According to Sabi, the single factor which decided the case was a nikah form which Haiwad produced. They did not even have a registrar on their witness list to testify.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.

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