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November 27, 2020

Plea of Arzoo’s father for transfer of case to another court rejected

Karachi

November 27, 2020

The South district and sessions court on Thursday dismissed a plea made by the family of the purportedly converted Christian girl, Arzoo Raja, to transfer the case to another court since they did not trust the current presiding judge.

Raja Masih, the father of the 13-year-old girl, had filed three applications before the South district’s top judge, all of them identical in nature for they sought transfer of the matters related to the case pending before the additional district and sessions judge South-III to another court over non-confidence.

Masih opined that the court-III judge had displayed bias and prejudice against the prosecution story, society and incidents pertaining to abduction of girls, while stating in their previous order that “Further girls these days are quite aware and confident and could not be enticed through deceitful means simply.”

On October 29, the court had granted bail to three suspects, Syed Mohsin Ali, Syed Shariq Ali and Danish, the first two being two brothers and the latter a friend of the main accused Syed Ali Azhar, who allegedly enticed Arzoo into eloping with him, converted her religion and married her despite her being a minor.

Now, the three matters are again fixed before the same court over which Raja pleaded before the South district judge that he had no faith that the present matters, all pertaining to the bail of the accused, will be decided on merit and should be transferred to any other court of the district.

He added that while adjudicating the earlier application, the court-III judge had gone beyond the mandate of law and gave observations based on personal views and opinions rather than judicial perusal.

“In such circumstances there is no hope that the present bail application will be decided on merits but there is severe apprehension that the same prejudice will be transposed in the proceedings of the present bail application as well. Therefore it is indispensable, in the larger interest of justice, that the present bail application[s] may not be tried before the additional district and sessions judge South - III,” the application read, relying upon the superior courts orders, 2008 YLR 2414 Peshawar, 2013 PCrLJ 111 Lahore, 2012 MLD 501 Lahore, 2015 MLD 1593 Karachi.

The district and sessions judge South, however, dismissed Raja’s plea. The order was not issued until the filing of the story. Raja’s lawyer Jibran Nasir commented that his client will decide the future course, whether to go into appeal again or withdraw from it, after reading the order which is expected today.

Earlier in the week, police had charge sheeted Azhar, the man who married Arzoo, with rape and coercing a child into marriage as well a lawyer duo, Mehmoodul Hasan and his assistant Junaid Siddiqui and nikkah khawan Abdul Rasool.

Three more accused who are absconding including Azharuddin, the justice of peace who issued the free will certificate to Arzoo, and the two witnesses of the marriage, Danish Hussain and Habib, for facilitating a child marriage. The police exonerated Mohsin, Shariq and Danish, from the case for lack of evidence against them. Of the accused, only Azhar is in custody.