By: Radhakrishna NS
PAKISTAN’S Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar says that the alleged abduction and conversion of a teenage Sikh girl who was married to a Muslim man has been “amicably” resolved between the two families.
Jagjit Kaur’s conversion and her marriage to Mohammad Hassan snowballed into a controversy after her family issued a video message alleging that she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.
While her family says that she is 18 years of age, the National Database and Registration Authority mentions her age as 19.
An FIR was registered against six people in the case and one of the suspects named Arsalan, a friend of the prime accused Mohammad Hassan who married the Sikh girl, was arrested.
However, the girl, who is the daughter of a Sikh priest in Nankana Sahib, some 80 kilometres from Lahore, told a court that she married Mohammad Hassan of her locality with her own free will. She was shifted to Darul Aman (shelter home) on the court order.
The girl had last week also rejected Sarwar’s plea to return to her family citing threat to her life.
In a video tweet on Tuesday (3), Sarwar, along with the fathers of both Kaur and Hassan, said that the issue has been “amicably resolved” to the satisfaction of the families concerned.
He thanked both the families for coming to the Governor’s House on his request.
“Great news for Pakistani and Sikh communities across the world. Issue of Nankana girl was amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned families. The girl is safe and in touch with her family. We shall continue to ensure the rights of minorities in Pakistan,” the governor in the tweet.
Sarwar also requested Hassan’s father to speak in the video.
“We withdraw from the case and we will have no objection if the girl, Jagjit, goes with her family,” Hassan’s father said.
However, Kaur’s father and brother did not speak.
The girl could not be produced before a special judicial magistrate on Monday (9) due to security issues.
The Lahore High Court on Monday granted protective bail to Hassan till September 7.
Hassan’s counsel told the court that the FIR against him and others was lodged by the girl’s family under pressure as she married him with her own free will.
“Kaur embraced Islam without any coercion and was given Muslim name Ayesha before nikah (marriage) of the couple was solemnized. She has already recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate concerned denying the charges of abduction and forced conversion to Islam,” he said.
The police also detained 10 relatives and friends of Hassan on Saturday (31) in connection with the case.
There are reports that after the agreement between the two families at the Governor’s House, the police have set free the detained relatives and friends.