GUJRANWALA: A groom ran away leaving his bride at the altar immediately after he saw her face. Shahid Raza, the groom, was pressurised into marrying Liaqat Masih’s daughter Shabana by his family. Reportedly, he had refused several times since he was already in a relationship with his class fellow Farkhanda. Raza had agreed to the marriage after intense ‘negotiations’ with the bride’s family, asking them for a hefty dowry and placing several other conditions.
One of the conditions was that he would go ahead with the nuptials if the bride’s family agreed that he would be allowed to divorce her within a year if he was unhappy with the match. Raza had not met Shabana till after the wedding, which took place on April 19, 2010. When the newly-wedded were in the church, Shabana lifted her veil to eat mithai and Raza openly declared that he had made a mistake and would not stay with her. Raza had previously claimed that he would ‘weigh his options’ and stick with the marriage only if he liked the bride otherwise he would return to Farkhanda, said a family member.
Upon seeing Shabana, Raza immediately tore away the garlands around his neck, turned around and ran out of the church and got into the wedding reception vehicle decorated with flowers and ran off. Guests at the wedding were shocked and Aliyah, the bride’s sister, said that Raza had exclaimed, “I can do better than her and I won’t go through with this anymore.” The bride’s family was so enraged at the insult that after Raza escaped, they locked up the groom’s family in the church and beat them up with sticks and threw stones at them. Shabana’s mother, Noor reportedly slapped and attacked Raza’s mother Fazeelat. The groom’s party remained locked in the church for the entire day as Liaqat called in reinforcements to make sure no one could escape.
Liaqat demanded that Raza’s parents, Fazeelat and Irfan, bring their son back to fulfil the contract. They said that they had paid a very large amount in dowry and that Raza had ‘stolen our daughter’s money’. Eleven hours later, when Raza’s relatives were released from the church, Fazeelat said that though her son was mostly to blame the bride’s family had also tricked them. “They deliberately made sure that Raza did not see Shabana till after the wedding as they didn’t want to take any risks,” she said. None of the parties have filed an FIR yet.
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