Arrest warrant against Pak cleric accused of solemnising minor Christian girl's marriage

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Karachi, Nov 11 (PTI) A Pakistani court has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for a cleric accused of solemnising the marriage of a minor Christian girl who was allegedly forced to convert to Islam.

Qazi Mufti Ahmed Jaan Raheemi, who was on October 16 declared an absconder in the case filed by the girl, is also named in another case related to the conversion and underage marriage of another girl.

A magistrate court in Karachi issued the non bailable arrest warrant while hearing the case of of the Christian girl who has filed a petition alleging that she was forcibly converted to Islam and married to one Muhammad Imran.

The girl named the cleric, her husband and his four relatives in the case.

Last month, the court had issued a bailable warrant against Raheemi and four other suspects in the case.

The judge has directed the police to produce the accused cleric in court on November 16.

The court observed that the girl's claim that she was only 13 when forcibly married off to Imran is supported by statements of witnesses and documents.

She has also denied having embraced Islam.

The judge pointed out that under the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013, the marriage of any individual who is under 18 years of age was prohibited.

In May 2019, three of the five suspects escaped from the court after an additional district and sessions judge recalled the pre-arrest bail granted to them against a surety of Rs 30,000 each.

Cleric Raheemi is also absconding in another case of having solemnised the marriage of an underage Christian girl who has been sent by the Sindh High Court to a shelter home after refusing to go with her parents.

A medical panel on the directives of the court carried out a medical examination and confirmed that she was between 13 and 14 years when she was married to a 45-year-old man. PTI CORR PMS PMS