Dua Zehra is not above 16 years of age: Medical board

Teenager has repeatedly claimed she is 18-year-old and her marriage with Zaheer Ahmed is legitimate

A 10-member medical board, constituted on the orders of a local court in Karachi, concluded on Monday that Dua Zehra is between the age of 15 and 16 years.

According to the report of the medical board, the physical age of the teenager is between 14 and 15 years, while X-ray tests conducted on her teeth and bones estimated her age to be between 13 and 15 years and 16 and 17 years, respectively.

The report has been submitted to the Sindh Health Department, as the medical team decided that she is most likely between 15 and 16 years of age. The final report has the signatures of the board members, including its chairman.

A Karachi court on June 25 had ordered the formation of a medical board to determine the age of Dua Zehra, as her parents insisted that she was underage. However, the teen repeatedly claimed that she is 18 years old and that her marriage with Zaheer Ahmed is legitimate.

Counsel for Dua’s parents, Jibran Nasir, took to social media stating that Dua is a minor. “Offences of kidnapping, child marriage and rape/sexual offences all are attracted to a case where girl child is under 16,” the counsel said.

He criticised the Sindh Police inspector general (IG), urging him to take “immediate action” to remove the current investigating officer who had been informing the media that Dua’s case was not of kidnapping.

The lawyer added that the attorney general of Sindh had informed the Sindh High Court (SHC) that no case of kidnapping was made, as the police relied on the statements of the girl who had repeatedly stated that she was 18 years old. “Today it is proven that all statements were the result of inducement,” said Nasir.

On Sunday, a meeting of the medical board was held to determine the age of the teenager.

The police, following the court orders, shifted Dua from Lahore to Sindh Services Hospital, Karachi, under tight security and presented her before the medical board.

The Sindh Health Department had constituted a 10-member medical board consisting of specialist doctors. The board was headed by Dow Medical College Principal Professor Dr. Saba Sohail.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at hanifsamoon@gmail.com

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