13-year-old girl seeks LHC protection

Rana Tanveer July 21, 2010

LAHORE: A 13-years-old girl, Saadia, has filed a petition before the Lahore High Court (LHC) for protection and action against her relatives and the police after constant harassment from them.

Saadia filed her petition through Judicial Activism Panel (JAP). The petition is fixed before the court of Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry for hearing on Thursday.

Saadia’s father Irshad Ahmed and brother in law Mahboob Ali were allegedly forcing her to marry a 55-year-old labourer Ijaz in exchange for Rs70,000, she submitted in the petition through JAP chairman advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique. She said they had planned her nikah for July 19.

Advocate Siddique submitted in the petition that Saadia had been separated from her mother three months ago when her brother-in-law Mahboob Ali threw her mother and her siblings out of the family home.

He said that after spending the night on the road, she contacted a relative, Arshad Ali, by telephone on Monday who managed to reunite her with her mother and her siblings.

Siddique added that Ahmed had begun fighting with his wife Kausar after Ali requested that Saadia’s elder sister Iqra be married to him. He said that Kausar and her three sons had opposed the marriage, which enraged Ali. He said Ali wanted Saadia and her sisters to continue to live with him so that he could sell them off for large sums of money. He said that Kausar managed to escape with her elder daughter Sumaira but had been unable to recover Saadia and Iqra, with whom he solemnised his nikah two months back.

He said Saadia had learnt of her impending nuptials on July 12 when Ijaz was brought to the house to see her. He said she had run away because she didn’t want to marry Ijaz, or any other man.

Ali had been a frequent visitor to the household.  He had promised the family that he would find employment for the three sons.  For this purpose he had also taken Rs60,000 from them.  Saadia’s father, Ahmed, is addicted to heroin, and Ali were able to convince him that if he married his daughter to Ali, he would find a bride for Ahmed too.

Siddique submitted that Ali and Ahmed were constantly directing police raids in search of Saadia but she along with her mother had taken shelter at an undisclosed location. He said that Ferozewala Police have arrested Arshad Ali’s brother and threatened Saadia’s other relatives that they would file an FIR against them for kidnapping after taking a bribe from Ali.

He prayed to the court to issue direction to the Home Secretary and Punjab’s Chief Secretary for protection of fundamental rights.

He further prayed that concerned police officials should stop harassing Saadia, her siblings, mother and other relatives and instead provide protection. He also prayed for action against her father and brother-in-law.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2010.


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