In a first in Sindh, Christian man convicted for second marriage

A Christian man was convicted Monday for going against the law and marrying for the second time despite his wife being alive — becoming the first person to be sentenced under the Christian Marriage Act, 1872.

Judicial Magistrate East sentenced the man, Joshua Ilyas, to nine years in prison and also slapped a fine of Rs25,000 on him for violating the marriage law.

A court document showed that Ilyas has been convicted under CrPc Section 245 (ii), which allows a magistrate to pass a sentence upon a person if the judge finds them guilty.

The convention of the man was also under PPC Section 468 (committing forgery with the intention that the document forged shall be used for the purpose of cheating), Section 471 (Fraudulently or dishonestly using any document as genuine which they know to be a forge), and Section 494 (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife).

Although all these sections of the PPC carry three-year sentences each, the judge ordered that the person will serve them concurrently, therefore, instead of a total combined nine years, he will be in prison for three years.

During the case’s hearings, petitioner Ester’s lawyer said that Ilyas and his client had married one-and-a-half years back and after they tied the knot, the man sent his wife to Dubai.

The lawyer said that Ester, Ilyas’s first wife, got to know that he had entered into a second marriage when she returned to Pakistan. “This is against the Christian Marriage Act,” the lawyer informed the court.

When the arguments concluded and the judge announced the verdict of imprisonment and fines, it also told the man that if he failed to pay the penalty, his jail term would be extended by another two months.

Following the verdict, the lawyer said: “This is the first time that a person has been convicted under the Christian Marriage Act in Sindh.”

The first wife, it is worth noting, had filed a case against Ilyas at the Mehmoodabad Police Station in Karachi after the court had ordered her to do so.

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