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14 or 11, the blasphemy accused still a juvenile

By: Munawer Azeem

ISLAMABAD: The medical board constituted to ascertain the actual age of a Christian girl facing charges of blasphemy, suggested her age to be approximately 14 years and that she was not mature, sources in the police and hospital told Dawn.

Earlier, the family of the girl and the Christian community claimed her to be 11-years-old and the certificate issued from the Church also declared her 11 years and three months old.

However, the police record and the hospital certificate regarding her fitness declared the girl 16 years old.

Over the confession of the age, the counsel of the girl, Advocate Tahir Naveed Chaudhry had submitted an application in the district and session court on August 23, seeking constitution of the medical board to ascertain the age of the girl.

In response, the additional district and session judge issued direction on August 24 and ordered to constitute the board.

The age can play a vital role during her trail over the blasphemy charge, as the case will be tried under Juvenile Justice System
(JJS) if the accused is 14-year-old or less.

In response to the direction of the court, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ahmed Ali issued direction to Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH) to constitute a medical board and examine the girl.

The station house officer of Raman and investigation officer of the case took the girl from Adiala Jail and drove to FGSH, amid high security. Officials of police and city administration were also present at the hospital during the stay of the girl, to counter any mishap and maintain law and order situation.

After her arrival at the hospital, the girl was examined by the board of five doctors, including radiologist, gynecologist and orthopedics. During the two hour long examination, several tests of the girl was conducted, including radiology and later she was again shifted to jail.

The investigation officer of the case later collected the report in the afternoon and submitted it to the court.

The police said that medical board suggested that she was 14 years old.