Rights Watch | 5th December 2020

Raja Masih, father of Arzoo Raja, withdraws plea from SHC for a review of the court's November 23 verdict in order to approach a family court for her custody. Arzoo, who was proven a minor, had twice refused to return to her parents, following which the court had directed she be sent to a shelter home rather than to her "husband".


Arzoo case review plea withdrawn from SHC

Raja Masih, the father of 13-year-old Arzoo Raja who had been forcibly converted to Islam and married to an older Muslim man, withdrew his review application from the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday, December 4, in order to apply for his daughter’s custody from a family court. The two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha discarded the petition seeking a review of the court’s verdict on November 23 to send the minor Christian girl to a shelter home. The bench however directed that if the family court refuses Raja Masih’s application to recover his daughter from the shelter home, the applicant may approach the SHC again.

Arzoo had submitted her refusal to return to her parents and to return to her “husband”, Syed Ali Mazhar, during case proceedings. However, the court found that because she was a minor, the marriage could not be legally upheld and ordered her to be sent to a welfare shelter. 

Rawalpindi kilns begin the switch to zigzag technology

Rawalpindi brick kilns have begun to transition to environmentally-friendly zigzag technology under the directives of the Supreme Court. Per the Environment Protection Agency’s orders, all brick kilns must shift to zigzag tech before December 31. Further, any kilns found to not have made the transition will not be allowed to operate from January onwards. 21 of 400 kilns in the district are now operating with zigzag tech while 30 have begun to make the transition.

Due to rising smog levels, the Supreme Court in early October had ordered immediate efforts to mitigate air pollution, including shifting brick kilns to zigzag technology to cut down on carbon emissions. Experts believe that respiratory illnesses arising from smog and other air pollutants may exacerbate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Police supporting rivals alleges constable

Constable Sanaullah of the patrolling police Lahorka in Minchinabad, Bahawalnagar district, has accused the police of lodging a false FIR in favor of his influential rivals after he and his father were tortured over a property dispute.

According to the constable’s statement, he had called 15 when the miscreants, including one Umar Zaman, approached his  uncle and subjected him to torture over some property dispute. When the police arrived, however, they nabbed his uncle and kept him hostage at the assailants’ home, and was only released when Sanaullah and his relatives protested. However, Sanaullah and his father were later tortured in the presence of the police. Sanaullah was carted to the tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospital for treatment after he fell unconscious due to the beating, during which police took his father’s thumbprint on a blank paper to file a doctored FIR.

Zaman however alleges that Sanaullah had initiated the dispute which turned into a clash between both groups, however, Zaman was found innocent by investigators.