CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 09:15 am America/Denver (CNA).
Catholics in Pakistan are protesting a judge’s decision not to intervene after a 44-year-old man allegedly kidnapped a 13-year-old Catholic girl, forced her to convert to Islam, and then married her.
According to UCA News, Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Catholic from Karachi was kidnapped in broad daylight Oct. 13 by Ali Azhar. Raja’s parents were informed days later by the police that their daughter had converted to Islam and had married Azhar, allegedly of her own free will. Her parents filed a police report.
Two weeks after her abduction, on Oct. 27, the Sindh High Court ruled the marriage was valid and that Azhar would not be arrested.
Technically, child marriage is illegal in Pakistan, but courts typically do not enforce these laws. Sharia Law, which is used in some judicial decisions in Pakistan, permits a child to be married after her first menstrual period.
Approximately 400 people protested the decision at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Karachi, and Christians in other parts of the country protested as well.