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School expels Pakistani boy, 13, for getting married

By Reza Sayah, CNN
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Teen expelled for being married
  • Boy, 13, says school expelled him after finding out he was married
  • Gherat Khan challenging decision with Peshawar High Court
  • Gherat says new wife can help ailing mother with housework
  • Principal says school worried Gherat would share intimate details with classmates
  • Pakistan
  • Peshawar

Peshawar, Pakistan (CNN) -- A 13-year-old Pakistani boy has taken his school to court, challenging his expulsion after he got married.

Gherat Khan, a 7th grader at Peshawar Model School, filed a petition with the High Court in the northwest Pakistani city saying the school's principal sent him packing after she found out about the wedding.

Gherat said his wife is 16, although CNN could not independently verify her age.

Pakistan has no clear guidelines prohibiting underage marriage.

Civil law says boys must be 18; girls 16. But Islamic law says a couple can marry if both have reached puberty and if their parents approve.

"I am young but our family had problems," Gherat said, explaining why he tied the knot at such an early age.

His father had passed away and his mother was sick, he said. The family had fallen on hard times. So his relatives, including his grandfather, decided to find him a bride who could help the family with housework

Gherat said he loves his wife and does not regret his family members' decision.

The school, however, felt differently.

Principal Beatrice Jamil said the decision to expel Gherat was taken after consulting with the school's directors.

His file said the school removed Gherat because his parents removed him.

But Jamil admitted that wasn't the real reason.

Gherat, she said, was told to leave because the school worried he'd share intimate details of married life with classmates.

"It's prohibited. It's almost taboo," she said.

Gherat said he was upset when he found out he could no longer attend classes.

If the school deems something inappropriate, he won't talk about it with his friends, he said.

All he wants is to finish his education so he can become a doctor, Gherat added.

"I want to go to this school," he said.

For her part, Jamil wishes Gherat well -- but doesn't want him back.

"Especially now that it's publicized," she said.