Thursday, June 30, 2022

SC wraps up Dua Zehra case as father withdraws plea

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KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday wrapped up Dua Zehra case after father, Mehdi Kazmi, withdrew a petition filed in the apex court challenging the Sindh High Court (SHC’s) decision which had allowed Karachi teenage girl to decide her own fate, ARY News reported.

A three-member bench of the apex, comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, announced the reserved verdict on a plea of Dua Zehra’s father. The apex court heard the case in the Supreme Court Karachi Registry.

The top court in its verdict has asked Mehdi Kazmi to approach the relevant forum for the formation of the medical board in Dua Zehra case.

“The case did not fall within the ambit of SC,” the top court ruled.

Last week, Dua Zehra’s father challenged the Sindh High Court’s verdict in the case in the Supreme Court.

The petition filed by Mehdi Kazmi stated that on June 8, the Sindh High Court had allowed the girl to make the decision based on her statement and ‘medical test’, which found her to be 17 years old.

The petitioner maintained that according to Nadra records and educational credentials, Dua Zahra is 14 years old.

At the outset of the hearing today, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah read out SHC verdict and observed that no evidence was found that the girl had been abducted.

“Dua Zehra in her statement before the court had denied that she was abducted by her husband Zaheer Ahmed,” the Judge observed and added that the petitioner could not impose allegations of forced marriage.

During the hearing, Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that even a father cannot challenge marriage in any court. “Only girl has right to challenge marriage status,” he observed.

“You can approach sessions court as a guardian against the SHC verdict,” he said and ruled out the involvement of abduction or harassment in the case.

“What do you want from us”? Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked Dua Zehra’s father.

“I want court to overturn SHC decision and allow our daughter to live with her parents,” Mehdi Kazmi replied.

To which, the SC has reserved verdict and announced that the top court will issue its decision today.

SHC verdict

The SHC, in its written verdict, observed that no evidence was found that the girl had been abducted and restrained authorities concerned from registering abduction cases.

The SHC had also disposed of the petition filed by parents into the alleged abduction of the teenage girl.

The case

Dua Zehra’s family had approached police, hours after she went missing from near her house in Alfalah Town Karachi on April 16, and had appealed through a number of channels for help in finding their daughter.

Days after her disappearance, police found out that Dua Zehra had married a boy named Zaheer in Lahore.

A Lahore court allowed Dua to live with her husband. The Model Town court, while issuing a verdict on the police’s plea to send the girl (14-year-old according to her father’s claim and 18-year-old as per her own) to Dar-ul-Aman, rejected the police request and allowed Dua Zehra to live with her husband Zaheer Ahmed.

She was then produced before SHC where the court ordered a medical examination of the girl. The medical examiner stated that she is aged between 16 and to 17-year-old.

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