Dua Zahra is below 16 years of age, declares medical board

Yousuf Katpar
Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022

Karachi: In what Dua Zahra’s parents have billed as the vindication of their position, a 10-member medical board formed to determine the age of the teenage girl, who had gone missing from her Karachi home in April and later been found to have married a man in Punjab, has said that she is between 15 and 16 years of age.

The report, a copy of which is available with The News, was submitted to Judicial Magistrate (East) Aftab Ahmed Bughio on Monday. The board’s consensus opinion is that Dua’s overall age is between 15 and 16 years, nearer to 15 years, based on physical examination and dentition, according to the concluding paragraph of the three-page report.

On the basis of physical examination, the girl’s age is between 15 and 16 years, on the basis of dentition and OPG (orthopantomogram) examination, her dental age is between 13 and 15 years, and on the basis of epiphyseal closure assessed on radiological examination, the bone age is between 16 and 17 years. “This is an unusual discrepancy,” opined the panel.

It conducted X-rays of her hands, elbows, wrists, pelvis and sternal ends of clavicle. An OPG X-ray of one of her lower mandible premolar teeth was also conducted. The matter will come up for hearing before the magistrate on Wednesday (tomorrow).

In a Twitter post, Jibran Nasir, the counsel for Dua’s father Syed Mehdi Kazmi, said that the medical board has verified the truth that the girl’s parents have been telling for the past two and a half months.

According to the board, Dua is nearest to 15 years of age, negating the previous medical report that claimed she is 17 years old, he said, adding that it has been proven that the NADRA documents are accurate, and Dua is in fact a 14-year-old child.

Nasir said that the offences of abduction, child marriage and rape are all attracted in a case where a girl is below 16 years of age. It is pertinent to mention here that an ossification test carried out last month on the directives of the Sindh High Court (SHC) had opined that the girl was between 16 and 17 years of age.

He pointed out that the Sindh advocate general had told the SHC that there had been no kidnapping, that the police had relied on the statement of the girl who had claimed that there had been no kidnapping.

He also pointed out that the girl had repeatedly told the honourable courts that she is 18 years of age, but it has now been proven that all those statements were the result of inducement. Later, addressing a news conference with Kazmi at the Karachi Press Club, the counsel said that all the evidence pointed towards the girl being under 16 years of age. He said that the report submitted to the court has vindicated the parents’ claim regarding her age.

Slamming the investigating officer of the case, DSP Shaukat Shahani, he claimed that the IO had not conducted a fair investigation into the case, and had been misguiding his high-ups from day one, which resulted in the removal of acting Sindh police chief Kamran Fazal and the transfer of some other officers.

Replying to a question, he said that the IO would submit a supplementary challan in the light of the report, following which the court would decide whether it takes cognizance of it or not. Kazmi said that he was satisfied with the report, and demanded that the culprits be now brought to justice. “If my daughter is watching me right now, I want to tell her that she would be with me soon, and that she would receive the same amount of love she had before.”