Zaheer denies, brother admits they were in Karachi when Dua Zahra disappeared

our correspondents
Saturday, Jul 30, 2022

karachi: Shabbir Ahmed, brother of Dua Zahra’s purported husband Zaheer Ahmed, has confessed that he had accompanied his younger brother to Karachi on April 16 to take away the teenage girl.

The police officer investigating the alleged abduction and underage marriage of Zahra submitted a progress report to a District East judicial magistrate, stating that Zaheer and Shabbir joined the probe after obtaining pre-arrest bail from a sessions court on July 25.

During the interrogation, Shabbir admitted that he accompanied his younger brother to Karachi to take Zahra, he said. However, he added, Zaheer had been insisting that he was not in the city on the day the girl was reported missing.

The officer pointed out that the call data record of Zaheer’s phone number showed his presence in Karachi on April 16. He was also in the city on April 7 and 9. Zaheer’s last location on April 16 was Nooriabad as per the CDR, after which he switched off his cell phone and possibly remained in contact with the girl through his brother’s cell phone or WhatsApp, the IO said.

The CDR of Shabbir’s phone number also showed his presence in Karachi on the day the girl disappeared. In the light of the investigation thus far carried out into the case and the CDR of the accused persons’ phone numbers, he concluded that both were in Karachi on April 16.

Zaheer faces charges of kidnapping the underage girl from Karachi and contracting the illegal child marriage with her in Lahore. His brother, mother and over a dozen other relatives, as well as cleric Hafiz Ghulam Mustafa, who solemnised the marriage, and two eyewitnesses to it have been accused of aiding and abetting the alleged crime. Mustafa, and Asghar Ali, one of the two witnesses, are in judicial custody.

Rind was assigned the case investigation on July 20 after a court ordered the removal of the former IO, DSP Shaukat Shahani.

Shahani had previously submitted the final charge sheet recommending the court to dispose of the FIR lodged on the complaint of Zahra’s parents as “C class” for being “fake” as he claimed there was no evidence to prove the abduction and underage marriage charges.

A fresh investigation carried out into the case on the orders of the magistrate revealed that Zaheer was present in the city the day the girl went missing from her Malir Halt residence. The case will now come up for hearing on August 1, Monday, when the IO is required to submit the charge sheet.

Order reserved

On Friday, Magistrate Aftab Ahmed Bughio reserved his verdict on a plea of the IO seeking permission for a medical examination of Dua Zahra. He would likely to pronounce the verdict today.

Zahra was produced in the court amid tight security on Wednesday, three days after she was brought back to her hometown from a shelter home in Lahore.

The magistrate had sent the girl back to the shelter home with the consent of the lawyers representing the parties in the case and directed a child protection officer to ensure that no person was allowed to meet the teenage girl without prior permission of the court.

SHC order

The Sindh High Court on Friday ordered unblocking national identity cards and unfreezing bank accounts of Dua Zahra’s purported husband and his family members, and directed police to not to harass him and to deal with him in accordance with the law.

The order came during a hearing of petitions seeking protection, the unblocking of national identity cards and unfreezing of banks accounts of the family members of Zaheer Ahmed, Zahra’s alleged husband standing trial on charges of kidnapping and marrying her despite her being a minor.

Petitioners Zaheer Ahmed and his brother Shabbir Ahmed, the alleged husband and brother-in-law of Zahra, a Karachi-based teenage girl who claimed marrying Zaheer of her free will, submitted that the national identity cards of the family members had been blocked and their bank accounts frozen on a request of the police when the cops had been tracing the missing girl.

Their counsel submitted that after the recovery of Zahra the case was disposed of and the high court allowed the girl to decide with whom she intended to reside. They said that police and other authorities were approached for the unblocking of the national identity cards of the family members of the petitioners, and unfreezing of their bank accounts, but no action was taken in this regard.