An additional district and sessions judge on Wednesday disposed of a petition by a man seeking registration of a case against his brother for contracting a gay marriage, ruling that a British civil partnership agreement did not constitute a marriage.
“Perusal of the appended certificate of civil partnership does not show that the accused have contracted marriage inter-se,” said Judge Javed Mahmood Sandhu in a two-page order. “There is no direct evidence of commission of an unnatural offence.”
Petitioner Nauman Talib had asked the court to direct the police to register an FIR against his brother Hafiz Salman Talib and a man named Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, arguing that the two had entered into a civil union in the UK, thus marrying each other, which was against the law.
The judge told the petitioner he could approach the station house officer concerned and ask him to investigate. If the two men were found to have committed any cognisable offence, the SHO would proceed against them in accordance with the law.
On Wednesday, petitioner’s counsel Advocate Mian Adeel Yaqoob appeared before the court praying that the police be directed to register a case against Hafiz Talib and Abbas. The judge asked him what their legal offence was if they had married in accordance with British law. The counsel replied that being Muslims, they could not marry as Islam did not permit it. As they were both Muslims, he said, they could be tried in Pakistan if they committed the offence anywhere in the world.
The petitioner earlier told The Express Tribune that his family sent Hafiz Talib to Britain to study. When Hafiz visited Pakistan in April, his family suggested that he get married, but he told them that he had entered into a civil union with Abbas in the UK earlier the same month.
The family then beat him severely and intended to keep him prisoner in the house, but he managed to escape, Nauman Talib said. He claimed that the family had also decided to disinherit Hafiz, though other family members were not available to confirm this.
Nauman said he would continue to search for his brother and intended to offer a Rs50,000 award for information on his whereabouts. “We won’t let him get away scot free,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2011.