Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Monday said that the whereabouts of Dua Zehra, a teenage girl allegedly kidnapped from Karachi's Al Falah area last week, have been traced.
Shah did not provide further details as he said the matter was "sensitive".
Certain media reports claimed the girl had been found in Lahore. However, Lahore police denied these reports and said the search to locate the girl was underway.
Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Mohammad Abid Khan said Karachi police had provided Lahore police with a copy of a nikahnama (marriage certificate).
"Police are searching for the girl using the address on the marriage certificate," he said, adding that there was no truth to reports that she had been found by officials.
"The real facts will only surface once she is recovered. Lahore police is in constant contact with Karachi police," he said. The official said that teams had been formed and that Dua would soon be found.
Under Pakistani law, marriage before the age of 18 is illegal.
Father still awaits confirmation, says daughter's 14 not 18
Meanwhile, Dua's father, while talking to Geo News, said the family still did not have verification of the information being reported in the media about his daughter.
He said that neither Additional Inspector General (Addl. IG) Ghulam Nabi Memon nor Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali Khan could verify the information being attributed to his daughter or her whereabouts.
The father contested his daughter's age being 18 — as mentioned on the marriage certificate — saying that she would instead turn 14 on April 27. He also said he did not know any of the names mentioned on the certificate, including the groom named Zaheer Ahmed as he cast doubt on the document's authenticity.
Dua's father said he did not have any family roots in Lahore and did not know why and how his daughter got there.
Girl's mysterious disappearance provokes outcry
The incident had initially provoked an outcry, especially on social media, which had prompted authorities to take notice. According to the police, 14-year-old girl Dua was kidnapped on April 16 when she left the house house to toss some garbage.
On Saturday, police investigators probing the case sought technical assistance from intelligence agencies to locate the teenager. The Anti-Violent Crime Cell chief had said that the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing (CCW), which has expertise in accessing social media groups, was also helping them technologically.
Separately, the FIA’s CCW head Imran Riaz visited Dua's house last week with its four-member team, including a forensic expert, technical analyst, female investigation officer and female psychologist.
He said that the FIA had made "emergency contact with Google, Samsung and [an] online gaming platform".
The Sindh government has been under criticism ever since the case emerged. Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh had alleged that the police were not taking the case seriously.
“The police’s lack of seriousness in the case is a matter of concern,” said the PTI leader, accusing the authorities of "misleading" the girl's parents.
Sheikh added that the police and the provincial government appeared to have failed to recover the girl. The police, instead of performing their duty, were allegedly involved in the "character assassination" of the girl, he added.
The PTI leader had also advised PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to focus on Sindh instead of taking foreign trips.
Case of Karachi's Nimra Kazmi
Meanwhile, police also claimed progress in the case of another girl, Nimra Kazmi, who had gone missing last week.
Korangi SSP-Investigation Arbaiz Ali Abbasi told Dawn that the girl wasn’t kidnapped and had instead left home with consent. The officer claimed the girl left her home and went to Dera Ghazi Khan where she solemnised a nikah with a boy named Shahrukh.
He added that she had also given her statement to the police there stating that she was not kidnapped, footage of which was doing the rounds on social media.
SSP Abbasi said her family knew of the girl's friendship with the boy as she left home two months ago as well but had subsequently returned. Therefore, he said, the family had their suspicions about his involvement in her recent disappearance as well.
The SSP said the police would get the nikah verified, procure her statement under the relevant law, after which she would be presented before the court to determine her age.
SSP Abbasi added that the investigators would now quash the first information report that was registered under Section 365-B (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel for marriage ) of the Pakistan Penal Code.