Sunday, October 4, 2009

Paksitani Hindu girl’s conversion case

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The News Pakistan

Lal Jee, father of a Hindu girl, Bano, who converted to Islam, filed a petition in the court expressing no-confidence in Additional District and Session Judge (ADSJ), South, requesting to transfer the case to District and Session Judge (DSJ), South

Additional District and Sessions Judge, South, Abdul Naeem Memon, accepting the application, referred the matter to DJ, South, Faheem Ahmed Siddiqui, and adjourned the case to September 30. The complainant had also expressed lack of trust in the public prosecutors at the last hearing.

Earlier at a previous hearing, the judge reserved his ruling against the bail application of a suspect who allegedly played a role in Bano’s conversion to Islam.

According to prosecution, Gulzar, an engineer by profession, has been charged with kidnapping Bano. The girl converted to Islam and later got married to a Muslim, Jaffer Abbas, in Rajanpur. Gulzar is said to be the common friend of the couple.

Lal Jee lodged a complaint at the Kalri police station, stating that his daughter was kidnapped by Gulzar on August 17, 2009. An FIR U/S 365-B (kidnapping with intent to commit rape) of the Pakistan Penal code was lodged against him.

The court reserved its ruling after hearing both sides till September 24. Gulzar, currently in detention, filed a bail application through his counsel in the court.

The investigation Officer Sub-Inspector (SI) Ishaq, who was assigned to conduct an inquiry regarding kidnapping of a girl, was dispatched to Rajanpur along with the police party. He submitted his report in the court along with the certified copy of marriage certificate and Bano’s statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC before the Judicial Magistrate, Rajanpur In her statement, Bano said that she converted to Islam and married a Muslim boy out of her own will. She converted to Islam on August 11 at the hands of the cleric of Jamia Binnoria Town Mosque. According to a certified copy produced in the court, Bano and Jaffer entered into a matrimonial alliance on August 15, 2009, four days after she embraced Islam.

Deputy-District Public Prosecutor (DDPP) Abdul Maroof argued on the basis of merit stating that Zohra (Bano’s Islamic name) was 26 at the time she embraced Islam and being an adult she was free to decide for herself. Her father, however, expressed annoyance over his argument and deposed no-confidence against the DDPP, praying court to appoint another prosecutor. At the initial stage, Faiz Essa, DDPP was assigned in the said case, but the Hindu community also showed mistrust in him.

Now the court would call the third prosecutor to conduct the proceedings and examination-in-chief on the next hearing date.

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