A Sindh police official said on Sunday that Dua Zehra, a teenager who had gone missing from her Karachi home in April and later surfaced in Punjab, has been recovered from Bahawalnagar in a joint operation carried out by the Sindh and Punjab police.

Karachi Anti-Violent Crime Cell SSP Zubair Nazeer Shaikh told Dawn.com that Dua had been taken into protective custody. He said the teenager and Zaheer Ahmed — the man who is said to have contracted marriage with Dua — frequently changed their locations and never used mobile phones which created difficulties for the police in tracing them.

"They changed two houses in Lahore, moved to Mansehra and changed homes there too," Shaikh said, confirming that they were finally recovered in Punjab's Chishtian with the help of Lahore's Crime Investigation Agency (CIA).

"Dua is being brought to Karachi now and will be presented before a court," the officer went on. He added that the teenager's father wanted to meet her but was not granted permission as the matter was to be decided in court.

A separate statement issued by the Karachi police spokesperson said Zaheer had also been recovered. The statement said that the two would be presented before the Sindh High Court in accordance with its directives.

The statement added that the raid was conducted at midnight and employed the used of modern technology.

Seven police teams led by CIA DIG Karim Khan were on the hunt for the couple in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir for the past 15 days, the statement said. Karachi police also expressed gratitude for their counterparts in Lahore.

Further, Karachi police chief Javed Odho announced a cash reward and appreciation certificates for the CIA DIG and his team.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by CIA Karachi revealed that the police had conducted 45 raids and arrested 16 people during the investigation of the case.

Earlier, the Sindh police had approached the Interior Ministry for help in recovering the teenager after the Sindh High Court (SHC) instructed it to present her in court by June 10.

The case

On April 16, Dua's parents filed a first information report (FIR) alleging that their daughter had been kidnapped when she left the house to dispose some garbage. The incident had provoked an outcry, specially on social media, which had prompted authorities to take notice.

After nearly 10 days, on April 26, the teenage girl was recovered from Okara. In a video statement that day, Dua had said that she wasn't kidnapped and had married Zaheer out of "free will".

The 13-year-old girl had said that she had left her house of her own accord. "I have married out of free will. No one forced me. I'm happy with my husband here. For God's sake, don't bother me," she had stated.

Dua had also said that she was 18 years old, claiming that her parents were lying about her age.

Subsequently, she and Zaheer approached the Lahore district and sessions court and filed a petition against Dua's father and cousin.

Meanwhile, the police had also filed a plea in court demanding that Dua be sent to Darul Aman. However, the magistrate rejected the request and had allowed the teenager "to go where ever she wanted to and be set at liberty from the premises of the court as desired by her to go where ever she wants to".

On the other hand, Dua's parents were adamant that their daughter had been kidnapped and said that she had been forced to give the statement.

The teenager's father had also approached the SHC last month with a plea against the Punjab's court's orders. Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi had stated in the petition that as per her educational, birth certificates and other record, Dua’s age was 13 and under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 it was illegal to marry with a minor/underage.

He had asked the court to order medical examination of his daughter.

In the following days, the Karachi police repeatedly failed to produce the teenager in court earning the judges' ire.

At a hearing on Friday, the court had directed the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to make sure that Dua was not take out of the country with direction to file reports whether bank accounts and CNICs of persons involved in this case had been blocked.

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