Arzoo Raja’s Case Update: Arzoo Raja’s Future
Following Arzoo Raja’s Case update on December 9, the Intelligence Officer is to investigate the issue of Sanad-e-Islam. Also, the magistrate issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the absconding suspects. The judge has sent the matter to the district and sessions’ judge (South) for initiating a trial.
Furthermore, an appeal on this order is to be made to the extent that the Learned Magistrate has not met the request of endorsing sections 292A, 364A, 365B, 368, 328A, 377A & 471 PPC in the trial case.
Read further details on these sections: Arzoo Raja Case Updates: Arzoo groomed for child abuse
In view of these recent developments do you think a child should face this dilemma?
Arzoo Raja’s future, compromised by a pedophile, remains unseen and insecure. Although Jibran Nasir (Arzoo’s lawyer) is firmly holding all absconders accountable including Mohsin (alleged husband’s brother), as well as Qazi Abdul Rasool Naqshbandi, the justice of peace along with witnesses. Post arrest bails of Azhar and all those who aided and abetted were argued on December 12.
Yet, our cause for concern is to find a way to ensure the full spectrum of rights and needs of minority adolescent girls. Making matter worse, Coronavirus lockdown has created a favourable storm for child abductors like Ali Azhar. Once caught in this whirlpool of forced conversion, there is no way to undo the harm.
Trial courts usually take time meanwhile our community efforts include a National Conference held on December 12 on the issue of Protections of religious minorities from Forced Conversion under the auspices of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR).
In anticipation of the International Human Rights Day, the conference resolution was adopted as an appeal to the Prime Minister of Pakistan which included seven points’ recommendations seeking protection of minorities from forced conversion.
1. The Federal Ministry of Human Rights should carry out a comprehensive study and analysis of the issue, including under-trial cases, and the remedies, if any, provided by the concerned departments and institutions.
2. The Parliamentary Committee established in November 2019 should only make statements based on factual inquiries and comprehensive data analysis.
3. The police all over the country must investigate all pending cases and future cases under Section 498 B Pakistan Penal Code, as this enactment is particularly relevant to forced conversion and marriages involving minority women. However, the proviso has not been put to practice since the enactment in 2017.
4. An amendment bill in the Criminal Procedure Code should be introduced that makes all religious conversions be acknowledged, verified and validated by a Senior Civil Judge to ascertain the presence of a free will, consent, in addition to the appropriateness of age and marital status of the parties.
5. The Majority Act and Child Marriage Restraint Act be amended to bring these into conformity with NADRA ACT and other laws on majority.
6. An autonomous, empowered and statutory National Commission for Minorities Rights be constituted without further delay.
7. The Chief Justice of Pakistan is respectfully urged to consider sensitization of the judiciary and judicial officers on the issue of forced conversions and above mentioned recommendations.