Karachi police on Saturday filed an interim challan against four suspects in the Dua Zehra case over her alleged abduction, rape and forced marriage.
The suspects, including the girl’s purported husband Zaheer Ahmed, Hafiz Ghulam Mustafa — who solemnised their 'free-will' marriage — and two witnesses of the marriage, Shabbir Ahmed and Asghar Ali, were charged with kidnapping the teenage girl from Karachi and arranging her forced marriage.
Dua’s mysterious disappearance from her Malir Halt residence on April 16 had led to an outrage on social media about growing incidents of teenage girl’s alleged abductions from Karachi and their marriages in Punjab.
The investigating officer (IO) today recommended for the suspects to be tried under Section 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 3 (punishment for male contracting party) and 4 (punishment for parents or guardian concerned in a child marriage) of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 and Section 3(i) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act, 2018.
The IO showed the four suspects as absconders and listed six witnesses.
He mentioned that according to the complainant, his daughter went missing from their house on April 16, adding that they had managed to obtain footage of the CCTV cameras installed in the neighbourhood in order to find out any clue about her whereabouts.
The IO stated that the CCTV footage was analysed for clues but the girl was not seen in the video.
The IO added that three cell phones of the complainant and other family members were also analysed but no useful information could be found during their forensic analysis.
He informed the court that the help of other departments was also sought in search for the captive teenager but it had not borne any fruit.
The IO stated that according to the media reports, Dua had solemnised a free-will marriage with Zaheer in Lahore and their purported nikahnama (marriage certificate) was also shared on social media.
He submitted that on the directives of Lahore Model Town's judicial magistrate, he recorded Dua's statement under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in which she denied her alleged kidnapping and claimed to have married Zaheer out of her free will.
The IO stated that the record of the National Database and Registration Authority showed that Dua was aged 14, adding that Zaheer had allegedly subjected her to rape in the name of a free-will marriage.
The IO requested the magistrate to accept the interim challan and also requested a 15-day period for submission of the final challan, arguing that DNA testing and medical examination of the girl were yet to be performed.
However, the magistrate only gave eight days to the IO for completing the investigation and submitting the final challan. Till then, the magistrate also told the IO to arrest all the suspects and produce them before the court.