ISLAMABAD: A ‘Hindu’ girl, whose family had claimed that she had allegedly been kidnapped before being forcibly converted to Islam and forcibly married to a Muslim man, has told the Islamabad High Court that she was not forced to convert.
Subsequently, the 21-year-old girl recited the Kalma and Darood Sharif in court to prove her willful conversion to Islam, reiterating that she had willfully converted to Islam and no one pressured her to change her religion.
‘They asked us to recite the kalma’
Maria, whose Hindu name was Anooshi, along with her husband Bilawal Ali Bhutto had sought protection from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through their counsel Zulfiqar Ali Korai owing to threats for marrying out of their free-will.
When the court asked Maria to meet with her parents, she refused at first. But on the direction of the court, she finally met with her parents and brother.
They met in the office of personal secretary for around 40 minutes.
When the case was taken up again, the court noted that Maria made a categorical statement that she had embraced Islam with conviction after attaining inner satisfaction and by realising that “Islam is the best religion and she was struggling in her mind to decide since her childhood.”
She further stated that she has “not embraced Islam merely for the purpose of entering into marriage contract” with Bhutto but this was a conscious and free conversion.
“She is so firm on her stand that she recited Kalma Tayyaba and presented Darood Sharif on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and requested the court to allow her to live with her husband in accordance with the injunctions of Islam,” the court order read.
Girl recites Kalma in court to prove her wilful conversion
In compliance with the August 18 order, Maria and her husband Bhutto appeared before the court on Friday. Her father Anand Lal, mother Kanta Bai, Uncle Santosh Kumar, Aunty Ajna Bai, maternal uncle Ram Chand and her 12-year-old brother Amar Shiva along with their counsel Dileep Kumar B Mangalal also appeared before the court.
Kanta Bai submitted that Maria did not care about the parents, their affection, love and the fact that they had fed her, provided shelter to her and raised her for 20 years.
She urged the court that Maria should be handed over to her parents so that they may be able to persuade or convince her that she was in the wrong.
She also expressed her apprehension that Bhutto may expel Maria after some time.
“In my view,” Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said, “custody of petitioner Maria cannot be handed over to her parents, with an objection that she may be compelled for conversion from Islam to Hinduism.”
In case they succeed in their efforts, Justice Siddiqui noted, it will further endanger the life of the young lady.
Responding to Kanta Bai’s apprehension that he may leave Maria after a while, Bhutto took an oath before the court that he had married Maria for life and any apprehension was misconceived.
When asked by the court Maria’s father said he was satisfied with his efforts to persuade his daughter during their meeting and that she was not willing to leave.
100,000 conversions and counting, meet the ex-Hindu who herds souls to the Hereafter
Meanwhile, MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani – the patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, said that “this tendency is merely an effort to enter into the marriage contract” which needs the attention of the court as the trend was disrupting the very fibre of the society.
He added that the concept of “Karo-Kari” is alien in the Hindu community and that Maria’s apprehension of being killed were baseless.
When the court asked if he was ready to take custody of both the petitioners, he replied that only Maria’s custody be handed over to him for counseling.
Following the hearing, Justice Siddiqui concluded in the order that the petitioners may live together while in Islamabad and that local police shall ensure their security.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2017.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ