Lahore: A Pakistani court has sought the computerised birth certificate of a Sikh girl, whose marriage with a Muslim boy last year, triggered tension in the country and also raised concerns in India. Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Shehram Sarwar held the hearing of a petition filed by Muhammad Hassan, seeking custody of his wife Jagjit Kaur, who has been sent to a shelter home on a court order.
The judge sought the birth certificate of Kaur issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to determine her age to decide on the petition. Kaur, the daughter of a Sikh priest of Nankana Sahib, was sent to Lahore's Darul Aman (shelter home) after she made a statement before the LHC that she married Hassan of her free will after converting to Islam and did not want to go back to her family.
However, her brother, Manmohan Singh, alleged that Hassan abducted his sister with an intention of rape. He claimed that Kaur was below 16 years of age and had not reached the age of consent when the incident happened. Hassan’s counsel told the LHC that she was now 19 and her computerised national identity card (CNIC) was available.
The judge, however, directed the counsel to submit the birth certificate of Kaur to determine her age and adjourned the hearing till May 22. This issue snowballed into a controversy after a video of the girl's family became viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and was married Hassan in September last year.
Subsequently, in January Hassan's elder brother Imran Chishti allegedly incited a mob in the name of religion and threatened to destroy the worship place (Gurdwara Janamasthan) to build “Ghulaman-e-Mustafa” shrine there. Chishti, a government employee, was later arrested.
Chishti had claimed that Hassan had been beaten up by police for “lawfully and consensually” marrying the daughter of the Gurdwara's granthi. He alleged that Hassan has been pressured by police and authorities to divorce her so that she returns to her parents’ house.
The Indian government had condemned the attack on Gurdwara Janamasthan and demanded action against those involved in it. India had voiced its concern with Pakistan over the abduction and forced marriage of the Sikh girl and sought 'immediate remedial action' from the Pakistan government.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar was on the forefront to pacify the Sikh community in Nankana Sahib over the alleged abduction of Kaur.