IHC permits Ghotki sisters to stay with their husbands

IHC permits Ghotki sisters to stay with their husbands

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday, while hearing a petition filed by two Ghotki sisters who were allegedly forcibly converted from Hinduism and married to Muslim men, granted them permission to stay with their husbands.

Raveena and Reena from Daharki in Ghotki district of Sindh had approached the IHC last month seeking protection and steps to restrain the government, police and their family from forcing them to return “and their forceful reversion to Hindu religion”. The sisters had said that they had married and converted to Islam of their own will.

During today’s hearing, the IHC after hearing arguments of both sides, allowed the sisters to stay with their husbands. Interior secretary will ensure security of the sisters and their husbands, the court directed.

Further, the bench ordered the inquiry commission to present its report and final recommendations by May 14 and adjourned the hearing of the case.

On April 2, the IHC had formed a five-member commission to probe whether the girls were forcibly converted and if they were underage at the time of their marriage.

A medical report prepared by Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) radiology department was presented before the court and stated that the girls were not underage at the time of marriage.

Raveena and Reena from Daharki in Ghotki district of Sindh are 19-and-a-half years old and 18-and-a-half years old respectively, the report stated. The ages of the sisters were determined through a bone X-ray, it added.

The government had taken notice of the incident after two videos went viral on social media. In one of the videos, the girls’ father and brother revealed the details and claimed that they were abducted from their residence, and forcefully converted from Hinduism to Islam before they were subjected to underage marriages. In the video, the girls’ father had claimed that they were 13 and 14 years old.

However, a separate video of the girls had also gone viral, in which they said that they accepted Islam of their own free will.

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