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Saturday July 20, 2024

Dua tells SHC she is independent

By Jamal Khurshid
June 07, 2022

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) Monday ordered Dua Zehra’s ossification test to determine her actual age following her statement that she was sui juris (independent) and wanted to go with her spouse.

The direction came on a petition for recovery of Dua Zehra and cancellation of her marriage under The Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013, filed by the girl’s father. The Karachi police produced the girl in compliance with the court order from Chishtian Punjab with the cooperation of the Punjab police.

Dua Zehra recorded her statement before the court, submitting that she was 17 to 18 years and she was not abducted by any person. She said that petitioner, Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi, is her father who lodged a false FIR as she was about 17 to 18 years old. She said the Sindh police had recovered her from Chishtian, where she was residing with her spouse and she wanted to go with her spouse Zaheer Ahmed. She also refused to meet her father.

The Sindh advocate general submitted that the marriage of the girl was solemnised outside the Sindh jurisdiction and no FIR was registered under The Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013. He submitted that the FIR had been registered on the complaint of the petitioner under Section 364-A PPC, which relates to kidnapping and under Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018.

He submitted that in view of the facts and circumstances of the case and the statement of the alleged abductee, even to that extent no case was apparently made out. He submitted that the abductee had been produced with the cooperation of the Punjab Police. He informed the court that a writ petition was pending before the Lahore High Court in instant matter and in compliance of the court’s order, Dua Zehra, is to be produced before the LHC on June 10.

The counsel for the petitioner confronted the statement of Dua Zehra and submitted that she was born on April 27, 2008 and she is an underage girl; therefore an offence under Section 364A PPC was made out. He also referred to her birth registration certificate and the copy of passport available on record.

The SHC division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, after perusal of the record of the case and the statement of Dua Zehra recorded on oath, observed that prima facie her alleged abduction by her alleged spouse Zaheer Ahmed was concerned, to that effect no case was made out.

The court, however, observed that as an abundant precaution and before passing any final order with regard to the custody of Dua Zehra Kazmi, it would be appropriate to determine her age. The court directed investigation officer to submit a report in this regard within two days. The court directed the police to keep Dua Zehra at a shelter home and produce her on the next date of hearing.

Petitioner had stated that Dua Zehra was under age and 14 years of age and belongs to Shia sect, and her marriage without ‘Wali’ and under the law of Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act was also void and ab initio. The court was requested to direct the police to ascertain her whereabouts and recover the minor girl and set her free from illegal detention from her alleged spouse.