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KARACHI: Doctors on Tuesday said that Dua Zehra Kazmi is probably between 16 and 17 years of age, a minor but not yet old enough to acquire a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of her own.
An Age Certificate, issued by the office of the Police Surgeon in Karachi on Tuesday and available to the media, showed that Dua Zehra had undergone tests to determine her age.
The tests were conducted on the directives of the Sindh High Court (SHC) to determine the teenager’s age since she claimed to be of legal age to marry of her free will while her parents claimed that the girl was 14-years-of-age, too young to contract a free-will marriage without their consent as per the law.
The ossification test of Dua Zehra was performed at the Civil Hospital Karachi by Woman Medico-Legal Officer (WMLO) Dr. Laraib Gul on Monday. The test included x-rays conducted at the hospital’s Radiology Department.
The certificate said that it was the opinion of Radiology Chief Dr. Saba Jameel that the density of Dua Zehra’s bones was not that of a 14-year-old. “Bone age is between 16 to 17 years,” read the certificate.
The chief radiologist further suggested that the girl’s age was more towards 17 years of age.
The SHC had ordered to carry out the medical test of Dua Zehra within two days and produce her before the court on June 8. The SHC has maintained that it wanted to medically determine Dua Zehra’s age first before taking a final decision.
Dua had gone missing from Shah Faisal Colony’s Golden Town area in April this year. Her disappearance made headlines after her father, Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi, posted a video on social media, urging people to look for his daughter and claiming that she had been kidnapped.
However, after police managed to trace their location to Lahore Dua Zehra maintained in multiple videos that she had left her parents’ home of her own volition to marry Ahmed of her free will and has insisted that she was 18-years-of age and can legally marry without the consent of her parents.
It is pertinent to mention here that Dua Zehra had contracted marriage in Punjab where the legal age for marriage is still 16-years-of-age.
According to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) whenever the court orders an age assessment, the police surgeon forms a medical board. The board includes a radiologist and an examining medico-legal officer.
This board then assesses the suspect’s age under the direct supervision of the police surgeon. In the case of Dua Zehra, however, no medical board was constituted and a junior WMLO was assigned to carry out the critical assessment.
Moreover, the Police Surgeon Age Certificate has to be issued by the police surgeon, not a medico-legal officer who had signed and stamped Dua Zehra’s certificate.