'Hindu' wife willfully recites Arabic prayers to save marriage in Pakistan
Islamabad, Aug 26: A 21-year-old Hindu woman who converted to Islam has been allowed by a Pakistani court to live with her Muslim husband after she insisted that she embraced the new faith willingly and refused to go with her parents.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court after hearing the case on Friday also asked the police to provide security to the couple. The family of Maria, whose Hindu name was Anooshi, had claimed that she had allegedly been kidnapped before being forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man, The Express Tribune reported.
However, Maria recited Arabic prayers in the court to prove her willful conversion to Islam, reiterating that no one pressured her to change her religion, the report said. Maria along with her husband Bilawal Ali Bhutto had sought protection from the high court owing to threats for marrying out of their free-will. When the court asked Maria to meet with her parents, she refused.
But on the direction of the court, she met them at the office of personal secretary of the judge for around 40 minutes.
Maria's mother submitted to the court that her daughter be handed over to them so that they may be able to persuade her. She also expressed fears that Bhutto may abandon Maria after some time. "In my view," Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said, "custody of petitioner Maria cannot be handed over to her parents, with an objection that she may becompelled for conversion from Islam to Hinduism."
In case they succeed in their efforts, Justice Siddiqui noted, it will further endanger the life of the young lady. Pakistan Muslim League's (N) member and patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, said that "this tendency is merely an effort to enter into the marriage contract" which needs the attention of the court as the trend was disrupting the very fibre of the society.
He added that the concept of "Karo-Kari" (killing the couple for dishonour to family) is alien in the Hindu community and that Maria's apprehension of being killed were baseless.
When the court asked if he was ready to take custody of both the petitioners, he replied that only Maria's custody be handed over to him for counselling.
Justice Siddiqui concluded in the order that the petitioners may live together while in Islamabad and that local police shall ensure their security.