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SHC orders ossification test to determine Dua Zahra’s age


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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday ordered the authorities to conduct a test on Dua Zahra — the 14-year-old girl 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 — to determine her actual age, and present her again on June 8.

An ossification test is typically used as an age determination test of a person on the basis of their bone framework.

Dua was missing for over 1.5 months. She and Zaheer were presented before the SHC amid strict security after being shifted to Karachi this morning following their recovery by the Punjab police from the Chishtian area of Bahawalnagar in the wee hours of Sunday. Dua was handed over to lady police officials after being shifted to Karachi.

During the hearing, Justice Junaid Ghaffar asked why the girl has been presented before the court today when the hearing of the case is fixed for June 10.

At this, Sindh advocate-general said that the court had directed the police to present Dua as soon as she is recovered. He informed the court that the couple has to be presented in Punjab’s court on June 10.

While recording her statement in court, Dua said she is 18 years old and she wants to go with her husband.

“My name is Dua Zahra and father’s name is Mehdi Kazmi. My age is 18 years and I live with Zaheer,” she said.

When asked about the house number of where she lives, Dua said that she doesn’t know this detail.

When the court told her about her father’s allegation that she had been kidnapped, Dua responded that she hadn’t been kidnapped.

Earlier, the court inquired from the Sindh advocate-general what the case under trial in Punjab’s court is about.

At this, the Sindh AG said that Zaheer’s parents had lodged a complaint against harassment.

“The girl had left out of her free will. No offence has been committed in this province […]. Marriage had been solemnised there [in Punjab],” he said.

Justice Ghaffar remarked that under the given circumstances, the petition for the girl’s recovery has become invalid.

The counsel representing Dua’s father informed the court that Dua’s date of birth according to her birth certificate is April 27, 2008, which means her age is 14 years and some days.

He said that it is a case of kidnapping.

“The girl will give a statement and the kidnap case will become invalid,” Justice Ghaffar remarked.

The court asked Dua if she wants to meet her parents, but she refused.

At the counsel’s request to allow Dua’s parents to meet her, Justice Ghaffar said that the court cannot force her to meet her parents against her will.

Dua and Zaheer were brought to Karachi this morning after being recovered by the Punjab police from the Chishtian area of Bahawalnagar in the wee hours of Sunday. Dua was handed over to lady police officials after being shifted to Karachi.

The SHC accepted the police’s request to present Dua before the court today. The police did not allow Dua’s parents to meet her. The hearing of the Dua Zahra case will start shortly.

The couple was recovered from a lawyer’s house by the CIA police after over one-and-half months since going missing from Karachi.

Confirming the reports of Zahra’s recovery, Anti-Violent Crime Cell SSP Zubair Nazir Sheikh said on Sunday that the AVCC took the couple into protective custody.

In a bid to put pressure, the Karachi police have already taken all the family members of Zaheer Ahmed into its custody.

Earlier, Dua Zahra’s family had lodged a report about her abduction on April 16, however, she later revealed on the internet that she had tied the knot with Zaheer Ahmed.

Dua Zahra’s mother-in-law demands justice

Dua Zahra’s mother-in-law appealed to the prime minister and Punjab chief minister to provide the couple justice.

In a video statement, she said they were scared, hence, they took shelter here. She said the police took Zahra and Zaheer Ahmed into its custody.

“Dua Zahra is my daughter. Nobody kidnapped her,” the woman said, adding that she came here on her own. Dua’s mother-in-law said when they tried to send her back to her parents’ home, Dua refused. Therefore, they were compelled to get the couple married in the high court.

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