Court orders removal of IO in Dua `kidnap` case – 20 Jul 2022

KARACHI: A sessions court on Tuesday directed the chief of investigation wing of police to change the investigating officer of the case pertaining to alleged abduction and underage marriage of Dua Zehra.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (East) Muhammad Mehboob Awan asked the Additional Inspector GeneralInvestigation to appoint some `honest and ef ficient` police officer to investigate the high-profile case.

The judge passed these directives while allowing an application filed by Dua`s father, Syed Ali Mehdi Kazmi against senior police of ficials f or not entertaining his requests to change incumbent IO, DSP Shoukat Ali Shahani.

The applicant`s counsel argued that suspect Zaheer Ahmed had allegedly kidnapped his client`s daughter from their Karachi home on April 16 and shifted her to Lahore.

He added that a medical board had declared Dua Zehra`s age to be between 15 and 16 years, close to 15.

He stated that the first IO of the case, Inspector Saad Ahmed Thaheem, being satisfied about Dua`s age to be 14 years had filed an interim charge sheet in court and inserted Section 3(i) of the Prevention of Traf ficking in Person Act, 2018 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 in the case.

IO Thaheem had also shown Zaheer, Shabbir Ahmed, cleric Hafiz Ghulam Mustafa, who illegally solemnised their underage marriage, and eyewitness Asghar Ali as absconders and prudently decided not to record statement of the teenage Dua on face value.

The counsel said that the first IO after sincere efforts arrested the Nikah Khawan (marriage registrar) and witness Ali, adding that he had also applied to a judicial magistrate for ordering an ossification test of Dua to determine her actual age, but the court declined the request.

Advocate Nasir alleged that the incumbent IO Shahani deliberately failed to appear before the Karachi`s relevant judicial magistrate on June 9 to seek remand of 10 detained relatives of the purported groom. Subsequently, leaving the court with no option but to discharge these suspects from the case under Section 63 of the criminal procedure code against personal bonds, he added.

The counsel pointed out that despite prime suspect Zaheer had provided his cell number to IO Shahani, he deliberately failed to obtain the call data record (CDR) to confirm his whereabouts during the period of Dua`s alleged kidnapping.

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