By Arré Bench Nov. 02, 2020
Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan denounced French President Emmanuel Macron. But Khan’s timing has been inopportune, as news spreads of minorities being treated unfairly in his own country. A 13-year-old Catholic girl, Arzoo Raja, was allegedly abducted by a 44-year-old man for marriage and converted to Islam. The Sindh High Court has decided to award custody of Raja to her abductor.
If you’re following international news these days, odds are the topics will either have something to do with the fallout of the terror attacks in France or the upcoming US election. And with the election almost concluded, it looks like the terror attacks, the French government’s response to them, and the reactions of Islamic countries’ leaders will reclaim the spotlight. The latest turn saw Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan denounce French President Emmanuel Macron, and write a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg condemning the spread of Islamophobia. But Khan’s timing has been inopportune, as news of minorities being treated unfairly in his own country has cut the legs out from under his argument.
Sindh High Court has given the custody of Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian girl to her husband because, she has accepted Islam willingly and she told that she was not abducted even didn't force to marry. pic.twitter.com/oQHhI3E2MP
— Daily Times (@dailytimespak) November 1, 2020
A case developing in the Pakistani province of Sindh has attracted international attention on social media. It involves a 13-year-old Catholic girl, Arzoo Raja, who was allegedly abducted by a 44-year-old man for marriage and converted to Islam. The Sindh High Court’s decision to award custody of Raja to her abductor, on the grounds that Raja allegedly agreed to the union, has invited a storm of criticism, given that Raja is still a minor and therefore unqualified to give consent.
A 13-year-old is a child and cannot give consent. https://t.co/KkWP6Z7L2I
— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) November 2, 2020
While Imran Khan might wish to present an aggrieved face to the international community as he attempts to speak up for Muslims worldwide, the atrocities against minorities in his own country lend his arguments an air of hypocrisy.
13-yr-old Christian girl Arzoo Raja is kidnapped in Karachi,converted & married to a 44-yr-old man.A court, on basis of affidavit signed under duress, sent her with him, despite docs confirming her age.Many even celebrate.Who'll take us seriously when we're drenched in hypocrisy? pic.twitter.com/uh22zxM7vD
— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) October 29, 2020
Voices within Pakistan have also condemned the incident, which is not only a case of dubious conversion and possible abduction, but also a clear-cut case of child marriage.
Inshallah will get Arzoo Justice. (13-yr-old Christian girl Arzoo Raja is kidnapped in Karachi,converted & married to a 44-yr-old man) but I just cant believe how our system is failing, every human is important
— Waqar Zaka (@ZakaWaqar) October 30, 2020
Imran Khan’s attempt to protect the image of Islam may spring from noble intentions, but unless he can get his own government to protect the rights of other minorities living in the Muslim-majority nation, it remains a fool’s errand.
Dear Mr. Khan, If you have true faith in your religion then you should be self-assured in its ability to withstand mockery, criticism, and ridicule. An idea that is not anti-fragile is a false idea. Please read: https://t.co/iuJiOIW8US https://t.co/qGAhMAOCAM
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) October 25, 2020
With international attention now focussed on the Arzoo Raja case, it is the Pakistan government’s turn to prove they can respect the rights of minorities while their leader lectures France on the same topic.