A court on Monday dismissed an application filed by the investigating officer of a case seeking medical examination of teenage Dua Zehra to determine whether she was subjected to a sexual act following her alleged underage marriage.
Zaheer Ahmed, along with his around 20 family members, relatives and friends, has been booked for kidnapping the 15-year-old girl from Karachi and shifting her to Punjab, where her underage marriage was illegally solemnised.
On Monday, Judicial Magistrate (East) Aftab Ahmed Bughio pronounced the order reserved last week on the IO’s application.
The judge observed that the IO, DSP Saeed Rind, had sought permission to take the custody of the minor/victim to a health facility to get her medically examined to see whether or not she had been subjected to any sexual abuse during the period she spent with her purported husband.
PTA told to take action against YouTubers airing defamatory content against Dua’s family
It said that the IO also filed a progress report stating that in his opinion Section 375(v) (rape with or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age) of the Pakistan Penal Code was attracted in present case, and for that purpose, medical examination of the witness/victim was necessary.
“Refraining myself to discuss the application of Section 375(v), it is hereby held firstly this court is the custodian of the rights of the victim, whose custody had been entrusted to the Child Protection Authority under the order of this court,” the judge wrote in the order.
The court observed that the medical examination at this stage would “achieve nothing, but embracement and offend the victim”.
“For the reasons stated hereinbefore the application moved by the investigation officer through the prosecution for allowing her to take the custody of the victim from the Child Protection Authority for medical purpose is declined in the interest of the victim,” ruled the judge while dismissing the application.
Earlier, state prosecutor Muhammad Younis had argued that there was apprehension of the commissioning of rape of the victim when she was in the custody of the suspect.
Advocates Jibran Nasir and Zaheer Hussain, counsel for the complainant Syed Ali Mehdi Kazmi, had also supported the IO’s request arguing that refusal to permit the IO to get the victim medically examined would amount to restraint of his powers to investigate the matter.
The counsel argued that the court may not interfere into the matter of investigation by putting any restriction to the victim’s medical examination. The father of the victim, who was natural guardian, was ready to give his consent to such medical procedure, the counsel said.
On the other hand, counsel for suspect Zaheer vehemently opposed the plea arguing that the same had been filed with mala fide intentions. “If any case is made out against the accused is under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, and no rape is alleged by the victim in her statement, which is direct evidence,” he submitted.
He argued that the medical examination of the victim at this belated stage would achieve nothing, but cause embracement and discrimination against the victim.
Action against YouTubers ordered
The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take action against some YouTubers for airing defamatory content against Dua’s father and his family.
A single-judge bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi also put the defendants on notice for Aug 28 and restrained them from airing scandalous material against the plaintiff and his family members.
Mehdi Ali Kazmi through his lawyer filed a lawsuit in SHC and referred to transcripts of numerous contents already aired on social media by private defendants and argued that all contents were based on defamatory, malicious and baseless material against the plaintiff and his entire family and damaging their respect and honour in the society.
The bench observed that points raised by the lawyer required consideration and issued notices to all the defendants.
It directed PTA to initial legal action against the private defendants strictly in accordance with law and to submit a comprehensive report within 15 working days.