LHC grants protective bail to Zaheer who married Dua

LAHORE: Lahore High Court on Thursday granted a protective bail to Zaheer Ahmed who married Dua Zehra, triggering marriage controversy.

Zaheer approached the LHC through his lawyer to get bail due to fear of possible arrest by the police after Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Health Department, Home Department, IGP of Sindh and others to appear before it on July 21 pertaining to a new petition filed about the child marriage of Dua Zehra.

The applicant stated in the new petition, which was heard before a SHC bench headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, that Dua Zehra had been abducted by Zaheer Ahmed. He further said that she should be recovered

The petitioner said that as per the authentic public documents, Dua was just 13 years, 11 months and 19 days old when she was abducted by Zaheer to Punjab. The petition said that Zaheer performed a child marriage with her and her age mentioned in the marriage certificate as 18 years was to justify the validity of marriage.

A 10-member medical board report regarding the age of teenager girl Dua Zehra was submitted to a court in Karachi on Monday, showing her age between 15 and 16 years. According to the medical board report, the consensus opinion regarding the overall age of Dua is between 15-16 years, nearer to 15 years, based on physical examination and dentition

Report further said that Dua’s age is 14-15 years on the basis of physical examination, 13-15 years on the basis of dentition evaluation and OPG examination, and 16-17 on the basis of epiphyseal closure assessed through radiological examination.

As per Dua’s statement in the SHC, she is age is 18 years and claims she contracted marriage with Zaheer of her free will in Punjab after leaving Karachi. However, her parents insisted that she is a minor and was kidnapped to Punjab.

Dua’s father Mehdi Kazmi’s lawyer Jibran Nasir in a series of tweets claimed that the new medical report verified that Dua’s real age was near 15, negating the previous medical board’s report which determined the girl’s age between 16 and 17.

Police on Saturday shifted Dua to Karachi from Lahore where a medical board determined her age once again. Her husband Zaheer Ahmad also reached Karachi.

The Sindh High Court on June 6 ordered a medical test of Dua, who was reported missing from Karachi on April 16 and later found from Okara area of Punjab on April 26 where she gave statement that she married to Zaheer of her free will and that she had not been kidnapped.

Her parents claimed that she was even below 14 at the time of her marriage. On the SHC order, the Civil Hospital, Karachi had conducted her test which verified that the girl’s age was between 16 to 17.

But Dua’s father Mehdi Kazmi rejected the medical report terming it fake and requested fresh medical tests. He filed a fresh petition in the Court of Judicial Magistrate East the last week of June and the judge ordered the police to continue the investigation to determine the age of Dua Zehra.

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