26 November, 2020

A Fight For Rights

A woman tries to save a marriage, against her family's wishes

A Fight For Rights

THE Pakistan clergy has kicked up a storm again—this time over the marriage of 21-year-old Saima to a person of her choice. Her father, Maulana Abdul Waheed Ropari, religious leader of a right-wing militant organistion, filed a petition against Asma Jehangir, chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, alleging that she was keeping Saima in "illegal confinement against her will".

Last month, the Lahore High Court issued summons to Saima, who testified that she had sought shelter in Dastak, a home for destitute women run by Asma's elder sister Hina Jilani, on her own. The former head girl of the Lahore College for Women also told a packed courtroom that she had decided to leave home because she was afraid her father would get her killed for marrying someone he did not approve of. Saima informed the court that she was engaged twice before, each time against her will, and that she left home when she learnt her father had arranged a third match for her—with a wealthy doctor.

Saima's heart was set on Arshad Ahmed, a poor relative whose family had...



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