24 Jul 2012

Police protection ordered for couple who eloped

10:55 am on 24 July 2012

A judge in Pakistan has ordered police to protect a young Afghan couple who eloped and married in secret.

The couple have been fighting deportation back to Afghanistan because the young woman says her parents want her to marry her brother-in-law after her sister died.

Miriyam and her husband, Hewad, both 22, were arrested by Pakistani police three weeks ago after entering the country illegally.

The couple argue that her relatives will kill them if they are forcibly returned to Afghanistan.

Analysts say the court's decision to protect the couple in these circumstances is rare.

The couple say that they entered Pakistan illegally about three weeks ago and had a secret marriage in Abbottabad.

The BBC reports they were later arrested for not having valid travel documents. On Monday they appeared before a judge in Peshawar to plead their case and a correspondent says the judge's ruling suggests that he believed their story.

Judge Dost Muhammad Khan ordered police to provide them with accommodation, food, clothes and proper security.