KARACHI: Professor Dr Saba Sohail, head of the medical board tasked to determine the true age of teenager Dua Zahra — who had mysteriously gone missing from Karachi in April but later declared that she had run away from her home to marry 21-year-old Zaheer Ahmed — has said that her ossification test report will be presented before the court on Monday.
Talking to journalists, Saba Sohail said that the medical board, in compliance with the court’s order, conducted the medical examination of the teenager.
She maintained that the board is preparing its report to determine the age of Dua Zahra which will be submitted to the court on July 04.
Earlier in the day, in compliance with the court's order, the police on Saturday produced teenager Dua Zahra — who had mysteriously gone missing from Karachi in April but later declared that she had run away from her home to marry 21-year-old Zaheer Ahmed — before the medical board in Karachi so that her true age could be determined.
Last week a District East judicial magistrate had given the health secretary seven days to decide Kazmi’s application calling for a medical board to be constituted to determine his daughter’s age because he insisted that she was a minor.
Prof Saba Sohail, principal of the Dow Medical College, Karachi, has been appointed as the head of the panel that also comprises Dr Sikandar Rafique Qureshi, head of the Radiology Department at the Lyari General Hospital, Dr Rani, consultant radiologist, and seven other medial experts as its members.
A day earlier, the Karachi police team, investigating the case of Dua Zahra, reached Lahore and brought her back so her age can be ascertained.
According to the police officials, Dua Zahra was shifted to Karachi by a special team of the police. In Karachi, the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) of the police took Zahra into custody.
Her husband, Zaheer Ahmed has also arrived in Karachi on his own. Zaheer Ahmed, however, will not be allowed to approach the medical board, said the police officials.
Earlier today, x-rays and different tests were conducted on Dua Zahra at the Services Hospital in Karachi to determine her age. Later, the teenager was shifted to the Dental Hospital for a dental check-up.
Sources said that her test results will be released in three to four days.
Following the dental check-up, the police brought Dua Zahra to the Services Hospital and produced her before the medical board.
Meanwhile, the medical board has summoned Dua Zahra’s parents and their lawyer. During her appearance, the medical board asked questions relating to the life of Dua Zahra from her mother.
Meanwhile, Additional District and Sessions Judge East earlier today rejected Zahra’s father's appeal to change the investigation officer (IO) probing her alleged abduction.
The court noted that the judicial magistrate hearing her case has not announced a verdict based on the IO’s challan.
Even if the challan is accepted, the petitioner has the right to appeal, the court said.
Jibran Nasir, the counsel of Mehdi Ali Kazmi, has raised questions over the presence of Zaheer Ahmed in Karachi. Talking to Journalists, he said that Zaheer Ahmed arrived in Karachi accompanied by Dua Zahra.
“Who allowed Zaheer to walk around Zahra,” asked the lawyer. He said that Zahra is under pressure and speaking cautiously.
He maintained that it was necessary to challenge the high court’s verdict in the case, adding that as per the NADRA’s record, her age is 14 years.
“If a girl child is under 16 her consent is immaterial for offences of kidnapping under S. 361/363 PPC, the offence of rape under 375(v) PPC and offence of child marriage if solemnized in Punjab. In age-specific offences victim's statement in favour of the accused is only relevant if above 16.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had on June 8 said that the teenager, who claims she entered into marriage with Ahmed of her own will, was free to decide her fate.
Her father Mehdi Ali Kazmi challenged the SHC order in the Supreme Court but it was disposed of on June 23 as it did not fall under the jurisdiction of the top court.
During the SC hearing, a three-member bench had asked the father to approach relevant forums for the formation of a medical board to ascertain Zahra’s age.
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