One day after Chanda Maharaj was rescued by the police, a Pakistani court ruled she should go back to her Muslim “husband.”
by Marco Respinti
There can be no good news in the fight against forced conversion and forced marriage of girls from religious minorities in Pakistan.
Yesterday, Bitter Winter reported that the police—after an international mobilization on social media that caught the attention of some local politicians and judges—had rescued Chanda Maharaj, a 15-year-old Hindu girl abducted on August 12 in the Fateh Chowk area of Hyderabad, Sindh, for the purpose of being forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man. The girl met her parents and was taken to a safe house.
We commented that at least one of dozens of abduction stories was ending well in Pakistan. Alas, it was not to be.
This was yesterday. Today a Pakistani court ruled that the conversion and the marriage were valid (which is against Pakistani law, which in 2019 raised the minimum age for marrying to 18), and ordered the girl returned to her so-called husband.
The reaction of the girl, who attended the hearing with her mother and cried desperately when the verdict was announced, tells the truth of the story. No further comments are needed, except that the fight against the abuse of minor girls through forced conversion and marriage in Pakistan should continue, in all international fora.