Two suspects have been arrested in the 'forced divorce' case in which a panchayat ordered a man to sign divorce papers on gunpoint, said City Police Officer (CPO) Multan, Chaudhary Saleem, on Wednesday.
"A case was registered against six members of the panchayat yesterday and two of them have been arrested already," Chaudhary Saleem told DawnNews.
"I personally contacted the couple yesterday; they are together and safe as they have been provided security," he added.
The case came to light on Tuesday when the couple — Uzma Batool and Mohammad Adnan — moved the Lahore High Court for protection from the members of a panchayat — comprising their family members — who had allegedly forced Adnan to sign divorce papers on gunpoint.
According to DawnNews, the couple, in their petition, had claimed that they were being threatened for remaining in contact and required protection.
The couple had also submitted an affidavit rejecting the panchayat's decision, in which Uzma Batool had said that she had married Adnan of her own accord but a panchayat comprising their family members had forced her husband to sign divorce papers on gunpoint.
While speaking to DawnNews, the head of Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah, Mufti Naeem, said, "A divorce does not take place if either party is forced to sign the deeds under duress."
"On the other hand," the mufti clarified, "some scholars believe that the divorce actually takes place if a man is forced to say the words, even if it is under extreme duress, but there are mixed views about such instances."
When asked why such panchayats were still prevalent in Multan, CPO Chaudhary Saleem said, "The only way to get rid of this nuisance is to make sure that strong action is taken against the culprits; we did that last month in the "revenge rape" case that was widely reported and we will do it again."