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SC gives Muslim convert girls 3 weeks to decide about future

27 March, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed two Muslim convert girls to stay at a shelter house in Karachi for three weeks to take a decision for their future in a free atmosphere.

Touching scene was witnessed in the court when Hindu parents started crying and demanded the SC that their daughters be allowed to go with them who, they said, were abducted and converted to Islam forcibly.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took up a petition by Dr Ramesh Kumar, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

In his petition, Dr Ramesh alleged that two girls of the Hindu community - Rinkle, daughter of Nandlal from Mirpur Mathello, and Dr Lata, daughter of Dr Ramesh from Jaccobabad were abducted from Karachi and converted to Islam forcibly whereas Aasha Devi was abducted from Larkana.

During the hearing of the case, the girls' parents demanded that their daughters be allowed to go with them. On the other hand, one of the girls, Rinkle Kumari, whose new name is Faryal Bibi after conversion begged: "I want to go with my parents."

Dr Lata Kumari, now Hifza Bibi, said, "Let me talk to my father."

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court sent the girls to Panah, a shelter home, so that they could freely make a decision about their future and where they wanted to go with parents or husbands.

The chief justice said that these were our daughters and it was the court's responsibility to protect the weak segments of society.

Earlier, Lata Kumari and Rinkle recorded their statements before the three-member bench in-camera and said they converted to Islam and married of their free will.

After hearing the arguments of the girls' parents and their husbands' counsels, the chief justice ordered everyone, including media, police and court-attendants to go out of the courtroom. "In the interest of justice we want to give free atmosphere and talk to the girls alone," the CJP said. There was great rush in the court.

According to the statement, Hifza, a 30 year-old girl, was medical doctor at Agha Khan Hospital. "I got married with Nadir Baig, an engineer at a car manufacturing company in 2004 with my free will and then accepted Islam. I hide my marriage from the parents."

The chief justice: said "Let both the girls have some free time to think over and decide about their future." Khalid Ranjha said now they are in court's loco parentis (parent jurisdiction). The court adjourned the case till April 18.

End.

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