In quite a blatant decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that Rinkal Kumari, Dr Lata and Asha Kumari, the Hindu women who allegedly forcefully converted to Islam and marry Muslims, be released and allowed to decide they wanted to go either with parents or husbands.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez allowed the girls, Faryal Shah (Rinkle Kumari), Hafsa Bibi (Dr Lata) and Haleema Bibi (Asha Kumari) to decide by themselves about their future.
The bench also directed police to provide security to three newly converted Muslim women. The three women appeared before the court, which asked them to register their statements to the Supreme Court Registrar in the absence of their lawyers.
The girls are being taken to the Registrar Office where they will announce their decision.
The court ruled that the police officials will be blamed for negligence in case of any harm faced by the girls, adding that the girls were old enough to make the right decisions themselves.
In order to give them time to decide their future without any pressure, the court had earlier sent Faryal (Rinkal Kumari) and Hafsa (Dr Lata) to a shelter home called Panah. The bench was hearing a constitutional petition filed by the Pakistan Hindu Council.
Dr Ramesh Kumar, patron-in-chief Pakistan Hindu Council, had moved the petition asking for recovery of three females belonging to the Hindu community, including Rinkal daughter of Nandlal (Mirpur Mathello), Dr Lata daughter of Dr Ramesh (Jacobabad) and Asha (Larkana).
Faryal has maintained that she was neither kidnapped, nor converted or married forcibly.
She said she converted to Islam and married of her free will, and that nobody pressurized her into doing so. However, her family has alleged that she was abducted and forced to convert and marry.
Relatives of the three women kept making noise outside the court. Several NGOs have been accusing religious elements of forced convergence of Hindus in Sindh.
The Supreme Court sought report within two week into the implementation of its orders into the case.