Hopes for the rapid resolution of a controversy over the conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam that has seized the Pakistani public were dashed on Monday,when the Supreme Court declined to decide the matter for at least three more weeks.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled Rinkel Kumari,a 19-year-old Hindu student who converted under disputed circumstances last month,should spend three weeks pondering her fate in protective custody,along with another Hindu Dr. Lata Kumari,29,in a similar situation.
During the emotional and sometimes rowdy hearing,Chief Justice Chaudhry scheduled the next hearing for April 18.
The case started in Mirpur Mathelo,a town in Sindh,where in 12 hours on February 24,Kumari left her family home,converted to Islam and married Naveed Shah,a Muslim neighbour who said he had been courting her through Facebook and cellphone contact. Kumaris family and Hindu community leaders reacted angrily,alleging she had been abducted at gunpoint and forced to convert by Mian Mitho,a powerful conservative Muslim politician who sits in the national Parliament.