The Muslim man who allegedly kidnapped Pakistani Christian girl Arzoo Raja, before forcing her into marriage, is to face a charge of rape, a magistrate ruled on 9 December.
The court also ordered the police to reinvestigate the legality of the forced conversion to Islam of Arzoo, who was 13 when she was allegedly snatched from her family home in Karachi’s Railway Colony on 13 October.
Cases were registered by the judge against Arzoo’s “husband”, Azhar Ali, as well as against cleric Qazi Abdul Rasool Naqshbandi, the justice of peace, and facilitators and witnesses involved in the marriage under section three of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013.
The judge sent the matter to the District and Sessions judge (South), where the trial will take place.
In November, Sindh High Court ruled that Arzoo is a minor and declared that her “marriage” to Azhar Ali is illegal.