The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered Dua Zehra, a teenage girl who went missing from Karachi’s Shah Faisal Colony in April, to be taken to a shelter home and a medical test to determine her age to be conducted on Monday.
Justice Junaid Ghaffar issued the order after the police brought the teen and Zaheer Ahmed, the youngster with whom she is claimed to have contracted marriage, before the court amid tight security a day after they were apprehended in Bahawalnagar.
The courtroom was packed with Dua’s parents, the Sindh Advocate General, and police officials.
When the teen entered the courtroom today, her mother attempted to embrace her, but was prevented by court officers who said they didn’t have authorization to meet her.
Dua taped her statement before the court during the hearing, claiming to be 18 years old. “I was not kidnapped; I married Zaheer of my own volition and wish to live with him,” she explained.
The lawyer for Dua’s father, Mehdi Kazmi, claimed that the girl’s birth certificate had been filed with the court. He explained, “They clearly demonstrate that she was born on April 27, 2008, proving that she is 14 years and a few months old.”
Meanwhile, the Advocate General of Sindh said that no crime had occurred in the province. “The girl stated that she went of her own free will,” he claimed, emphasising that “no crime” took place in Sindh and that the marriage was arranged in Punjab.
“This means that the petition addressing her recovery has now become unnecessary,” Justice Ghaffar said.
“The girl is standing in front of us and insisting that no one kidnapped her,” he said, before ordering Dua to be taken to a shelter and a medical examination to determine her age.
Meanwhile, Dua’s parents asked the court for permission to meet her for 10 minutes at one point during the proceedings. The adolescent, on the other hand, refused.
“What can we do when she has refused to do so herself?” Justice Ghaffar asked. “[Her] parents are standing here, concerned… but we must adhere to the law.”
DUA Zehra Case
On April 16, the girl’s parents filed a complaint in Karachi, stating that their daughter had been kidnapped and coerced into child marriage.
Dua and Zaheer Ahmed appeared in the media ten days later to announce their marriage in Lahore. She denied being kidnapped and said that her parents lied about her age, claiming that she was 18 years old.
A Lahore judge had permitted the adolescent “to travel wherever she wanted to and be set at free from the grounds of the court as desired by her to go wherever she wants to” when she was first taken into custody on April 26.
Dua’s parents, on the other hand, were sure that their daughter had been abducted and that she had been forced to make the statement.
Last month, the teen’s father filed an appeal with the SHC, challenging the Punjab court’s rulings. Mehdi claimed in the petition that Dua’s age was 13 based on her educational certificates, birth certificate, and other records, and that it was illegal to marry a minor/underage under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013.
He had sought the court to order his daughter’s medical evaluation.
The Karachi police frequently neglected to bring the boy in court in the days that followed, enraging the judges.
Dua and Ahmad were apprehended in Chishtian and transported to Karachi on Sunday.