“Once again justice has been defeated and once again has been proved that our State does not consider Christians to be Pakistani citizens.” This is the grieving comment gave to Aid to the Church in Need-Italy (ACN-Italy) by Nagheena Younus after the hearing on the case of her daughter Huma was held this morning at 11 am local time, before the Sindh High Court in Karachi.

The two High Court judges, Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali Shah, ruled that even if Huma were a minor, the marriage between the Christian girl and her kidnapper Abdul Jabbar would remain valid because according to Sharia law, the Islamic law, once she has had the first menstrual cycle, a girl of any age can marry. Therefore, no value has been given to the Child marriage restraint act, the law prohibiting marriages with minors, which was enforced in 2014 in Sindh and has never been applied so far. “We hoped that the law could have been applied for the first time in this case – says the lawyer Tabassum Yousaf – but evidently in Pakistan these laws are formulated and approved only to improve the image of the country in front of the international community, ask for funds for development and trade Pakistani products on the European market for free.”

Parents of the 14-year-old Catholic kidnapped on 10 October and the Christian community in general had were many expectations for today’s hearing. Huma was due to appear in court, as requested, during the previous hearing on January 16, by the Hight Court judges to the investigation officer Akhtar Hussain. When asked about the girl’s absence, the agent limited himself to saying that the young woman had been regularly summoned. Since the beginning of this case, Hussain has maintained an ambiguous attitude, raising strong suspicions of his complicity with the kidnapper Jabbar.

Despite this, the policeman was asked by the judges to take care of the medical examination to be carried out to certify the age of Huma, as requested once again this morning by advocate Yousaf. “It is clear that since Hussain is in charge – says the lawyer – there is a high probability that the test results will be falsified. But we keep hoping that the girl’s minor age will be prove so that she could at least be entrusted to a center for women, and taken away from her rapist.”

The next hearing is scheduled for March 4, but unfortunately, even if it is certified that Huma is a minor, the judges’ decision to consider the marriage valid, cancels any possibility that Jabbar will be punished for the abduction and forced marriage crimes.

Aid to the Church in Need-Italy continues to support Huma’s family and lawyer. “This morning’s sentence casts shame on the Pakistani judicial system – comments Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN-Italy – It is unimaginable that sharia can prevail over the law of the State. We express all our outrage, but we won’t give up. For Huma and the over a thousand girls that every year in Pakistan are kidnapped, raped, converted by force to Islam and forced to marry their kidnapper. Even if today we have learned that all of that is legitimate, because in Pakistan even an eight or nine year old girl can legally be given as a wife is she has already had her period».