Immediate recovery of missing young girl demanded

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Islamabad: The civil society of Gilgit-Baltistan, child rights organizations, the human rights commission of Pakistan, the legal fraternity, the journalist community, and representatives of political parties gathered outside the National Press Club in Islamabad to demand immediate recovery of the 13-year-old girl child gone missing from Sultanabad village of district Gilgit. 

Protestors called for a transparent investigation to ensure such cases never occur again. 

The child protection workers questioned the role of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Rights Commission in this situation as the unlawful act of child marriage was solemnized in the Mansehra District of the KP province. Moreover, the accused had also applied for a transit bail at Peshawar High Court, which makes it mandatory for the KP Child Rights Commission to investigate, respond, and rescue the child. 

Videos posted on social media by the abductors of the 13-year-old girl child reveal that she is married to a 17-year-old minor, who has still not obtained the legal age of marriage as set in the Child Marriage Restraint Amendment Act 1929. 

Furthermore, in the video, the abductors are noticed forging the age of the child contrary to what her original NADRA-issued birth registration certificate reveals. 

 Civil Society Organizations demand the swift recovery of both children as behind these unlawful acts, both of them are vulnerable to even more extreme forms of violence and exploitation. 

The key demands by the speakers at the press club are:

01- Recover the child immediately and present her in front of a court of law 

02- Use authentic medical and legal methods to determine the age of the child

03⁠- Investigate the conduct of the Nikah Reader and Registrar

⁠04- Investigate the doctor to ascertain how she was able to determine the child’s age and issue a certificate 

⁠05- Transparent investigation of the serious allegations leveled by the child’s parents against certain police officials to ensure accountability

⁠06- Review legal and administrative arrangement in place to identify preventative measures to ensure that such incidents do not occur again in the future 

  1. 07-⁠ Investigate why the Police could not take any credible action despite registering the FIR.

The High Court Peshawar should initiate an 08-A judicial inquiry against the magistrate who has taken the victim’s statement under section 164 CrPc.

The speakers talking to the media termed it as a case of child abduction, internal child trafficking, Child early forced marriage, and child sexual abuse. 

The protesters expressed deep concerns over the inability of Gilgit-Baltistan Police to recover the child even after 54 days of the incident. 

The child’s father has said that his 13-year-old daughter was ‘abducted and married off’ without his consent, in violation of his religious, social, and legal norms. He replied that he kept visiting the police station, but registering the FIR took longer than expected. 

Although a First Information Report of the incident was registered on 20th January 2024 in the limits of Danyore Police Station, Gilgit, the Police have failed to recover and produce the child in a court of law. The protesters said that Sakhi Ahmad Jan, the complainant, has leveled serious allegations against some police officials, which need to be investigated properly to ensure the accountability of law enforcement agencies in the region. 

Protestors also stated that if relevant departments will not intervene to resolve the situation the issue could lead to unrest among the masses. 

The protesters have assured them to continue their struggle until justice is not dispensed to the victim’s family.

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