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Blasphemy case Assessment of girl’s age ordered

By: Ikram Junaidi

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad’s duty magistrate on Sunday gave orders for assessment of age of the young girl accused of blasphemy. The girl would be taken to the medical board of Polyclinic on Monday (today), and the district management has finalised a security plan to avoid any unpleasant situation, Dawn has learnt reliably.

According to sources, Justice Inamullah gave written instructions to the administration of Adiala Jail to give the girl to police custody, who will transport her to Polyclinic. It is pertinent to mention that on August 25, Saturday, the administration of Adiala Jail had refused to accept orders of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Farasat Ali Khan to hand over the girl to the medical board.

The reason given by the jail administration was that since the case was being tried in the court, only a court of law could pass orders to release the girl for medical evaluation. The ADC had issued orders for the medical board evaluation after receiving a written application by Chaudhry Tahir, counsel of the girl.

Assistant Commissioner City Muhammad Ali, while talking to Dawn, confirmed that the duty magistrate had issued written orders to Adiala Jail administration.

“There is so much confusion about her age: some say she’s 11 years old, other say she’s 13 and those who have levelled the allegations against her claim she’s 16 years old. So it is necessary to confirm whether she’s a ‘juvenile’ or not,” he said.

“She will be shifted to Polyclinic on Monday (today) for the medical board. The district administration has been doing arrangements of strict security to avoid any unwanted situation. After medical board, she will be shifted to Adiala Jail,” he said.

Medicolegal Officer (MLO) of Polyclinic, Dr Tanveer, who is member of the medical team, said that written instructions had been received by the district management and all preparations had been done.

“There will be a five-member team, which will comprise of a radiologist, orthopaedic specialist, medical specialist and at least one lady doctor,” he said.

“For assessment of age x-rays of different bones and teeth will be done, besides her age will also be examined through physical check-up and her mental condition will also be examined,” he said.

The Christian girl was arrested by Ramna police under the blasphemy clause for allegedly burning a page of the ‘Noorani Qaeda’ on August 16 and then sent to Adiala Jail on judicial remand. FIR vide 303 under section 295-B was registered against her. Her relatives also claim that she suffers from Down’s syndrome.

Former general secretary of Islamabad District Bar Association Riasat Ali Azad while talking to Dawn said that the refusal to hand over the girl by jail administration was absolutely right because according to rules, jail administration cannot hand over any person/prisoner to anyone without seeking permission from relevant court.

“It is correct that ADC also has the powers of an Additional District Magistrate but he is holding an administrative seat so he can use that power within the city. The power does not extend to the premises of the jail,” he said.

“Since the duty magistrate has given orders for the medical board, the jail administration is bound to hand over the girl to the police,” he added.

Meanwhile, the investigation officer of the case, Sub Inspector Munir Ahmed said that he had recently received the file of the case so the investigation has not been started. He said that the case is under trial in the court of area magistrate Amir Aziz and after completion of 15 days of judicial remand, the girl will be produced in the court.

When Dawn spoke to ADC Farasat Ali Khan, he said that on Saturday he had received the application by counsel of the girl and had passed the orders. Later, he came to know that the jail administration had refused to accept his orders.

“I am in Talagang but I have been informed that on Sunday special magistrate has given orders for the medical board so the issue has been resolved,” he said.