KARACHI: Police have invoked the charge of rape in a case pertaining to the alleged abduction of a teenage girl from Karachi and her illegal underage marriage in Punjab.

Around 10 suspects have been charged with abducting the 15-year-old girl and shifting her to Punjab where her illegal child marriage was solemnised in April this year.

On Tuesday, the investigating officer (IO) filed a supplementary charge sheet before Judicial Magistrate (East) Aftab Ahmed Bughio.

The IO stated that the suspects had abducted the underage girl from her house in Shah Faisal Colony on April 16 and transported her to Lahore. He added that one of the suspects had disclosed his presence in the city on the day of the incident while the presence of the purported spouse of the teenage girl in the city was established from his call data record (CDR).

Magistrate fixes Aug 20 for acceptance or otherwise of supplementary charge sheet

He added that during the course of investigation, the detained and absconding suspects were found involved in committing offences punishable under Sections 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen), 363 (kidnapping), 368 (wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement, kidnapped or abducted person) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 3(ii) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act, 2018.

The charge sheet added that detained cleric Hafiz Ghulam Ali, who had allegedly facilitated the girl’s underage nikah, and Ali Asghar, who was a witness of the marriage, were involved in committing offences punishable under Sections 3 and 4 of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013.

The IO also invoked Section 375(v) (rape with or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age) of the PPC against the girl’s purported spouse despite the fact that his request for permission to shift the teenage girl, who was kept in a shelter home, to a hospital for medical examination was declined by a judicial magistrate, who had observed that the medical examination at this stage would “achieve nothing, but embarrassment and offend the victim”.

He requested the magistrate to accept the supplementary charge sheet and also sought time to arrest the absconding suspects and produce them before the court on the next date.

Granting the request, the magistrate fixed the matter for Aug 20 for acceptance or otherwise of the supplementary charge sheet.

Initially, a kidnapping case was registered at the Al-Falah police station on the complaint of victim’s father Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2022

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