Police in Pakistan have rescued a 13-year-old after she was allegedly abducted and forced to convert and marry a Muslim man.
The girl’s parents claim the young teenager was taken against her will by Ali Azhar, 44.
But the courts failed to act earlier because they accepted statements the girl gave saying she was 18 and had wanted to get married, reports the BBC.
However, leaders from the Catholic Church in Pakistan and human rights groups put pressure on the courts to reconsider the ruling, arguing the girl had been forced to give her statement after entering a child marriage.
Public outrage prompted protests in Karachi and the young girls’ parents petitioned for something to be done.
On Monday, November 2, the Sindh High Court ordered police to recover the 13-year-old. She was rescued later that day and Azhar was arrested awaiting a court hearing.
The teenager will remain in protective custody until a court hearing on Thursday, November 5.
A recent United Nations report found almost 25 per cent of women in their early 20s in Pakistan were married by the time they are 18.
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