By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 7: In a first of its kind gesture, a chief qazi in the city has launched a "rescue mission" to protect the interests of young Hyderabad girls deserted by their Arab husbands.
The office of the Qazat Shairat Panah Balda, Hyderabad, which has jurisdiction over the entire old city notorious for ever-increasing menace of Arab marriages, has established a sort of network with the chief qazis in different parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, to trace the whereabouts of the unscrupulous foreign bridegrooms.
About 300 Arabs marry Hyderabadi girls every month secretly and desert them after living with them for a few months. They simply disappear from the country promising to return at an appropriate time, which never happens.
The poor girls thereafter are left in the lurch. Under Islamic law they cannot remarry another man untill they secure a proper divorce or "khula" (separation) from their previous husbands. Also they are denied the marriage rights as poverty prevents them from seeking legal help or approaching foreign governments.
Says Qazi Mir Khadar Ali, chief qazi of Qazat Shariat Panah Balda, "Our rescue mission is two-fold. We try to bring about reunion between the bride and the bridegroom. And if this fails, we will secure divorce or khula from the bridegroom with the help of qazis in those countries".
The Qazat Shariat Panah Balda has been maintaining network with qazis and chief qazis of various countries for the past 30 years. In fact the Qazat used to arrange reunion or divorce as early as 1975 when the menace of Arab marriages was at its peak. Thousands of Arab nationals used to marry Hyderabadi girls in those days only to be deserted afterwards.
"My uncle Qazi Mir Muhammad Mukarram Ali used to reunite or secure divorce for Hyderabadi girls in early 1970s. He used to help around 250 poor brides in those days. I am just reviving this age-old helpline now that the human bazar is once again active in the city," Qazi Khadar Ali pointed out.
All that the affected bride or her parents have to do is to approach the Qazat office at Shahalibanda near Charminar with a copy of the passport of the bridegroom, Nikahnama and other details if any. The service is carried out free of charge. The Qazat office will bear the entire expenditure on humanitarian grounds. The affected parties may contact the helpline on 040-24413743 during office hours (Friday is a holiday).
Hyderabad has six chief qazis and they are likely to follow suit.
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