Citizens demand justice and accountability
The unlawful and inhuman acts of kidnapping, change of religion and forced marriage of the 13 year old girl Arzoo to a 44 year old kidnapper are a matter of immense shame and anguish for every Pakistani citizen. Sadly and regretfully these events were made possible by collusion between numerous unethical individuals and dysfunctional government departments.
As citizens and civil society organisations, we stand for the rights, dignity and protection of all children. We express our deepest anguish and regret at our collective failure that resulted in the agony and abuse suffered by the 13 year old girl. We demand accountability and reform in each of the following elements:
Sindh Government – for failing to prevent the recurring forcible conversion of Hindu and Christian girls.
The Human Right Ministry and the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) – for failing to operationalise even the already legislated processes like ZARRA and a single nation-wide Helpline.
The Sindh High Court – for its judgment of 27 Oct 2020 that restrained the police from arresting the 44 year old man who kidnapped and forced a marriage with a 13 year old girl.
Unethical lawyers – who bent backwards in creating fake affidavits that showed a 13 year old as an 18 year old girl.
The Nikah Khawan – who trashed his religion and solemnized the wedding of a 13 year old girl, knowing fully well that she was below the minimum legal age for marriage.
The Preedy Police Station’s SHO – who was asked to protect the girl but he allowed her to disappear and caused her continued abuse and torture.
The Union Council – that registered a fraudulent Nikah without carrying out full verification of the age of the girl or circumstances of the marriage.
The Sindh Child Protection Authority – that took no cognizance, remained entirely unconcerned and failed to play its primary role to provide protection to the abused child.
The Sindh Social Welfare Department – that wasted millions of rupees but failed to make a single child protection centre despite numerous false promises in the last 10 years.
We demand that the Sindh Government tenders a public apology and orders an investigation against the concerned functionaries for collusion in forced marriage, change of religion, fake affidavits, fraudulent Nikah registration and police connivance.
Dr. Kishwar Enam
Dr. Habiba Hasan
Asad H Kizalbash
Muhammad Jamil Awan
Dr. Salma Badruddin
Kasur Hamara Hai
Save our Children Foundation