A petition filed by the father of Dua Zehra, which challenged the Sindh High Court (SHC) decision on her marital status, has been disposed of by the Karachi registry of the Supreme Court (SC). Mehdi Kazmi, the father of Dua Zehra, had last week moved the apex court against the SHC verdict that allowed the girl to make her own decision on whether to live with her husband or her parents. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court heard this petition, and concluded that it did not fall in the purview of their jurisdiction. The justices asked the petitioner to take it to the relevant forum.
The court took the view that while it understood and sympathised with the father, the accusations of coercion or kidnapping could not stand.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah from the SC bench noted that Dua Zehra’s statements had been already made before two courts, where she claimed that it was according to her will. “If she meets you and says she wants to be with her husband, what will you say?” he asked the father.
Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar added that only a woman can challenge the status of her marriage, and that the law is clear on this aspect.
Further, Justice Munib Akhtar told the petitioner:“We understand the sensitivity of the case but do not get emotional. You have read the Marriage Act, only a girl can challenge her marriage or file a case of harassment and kidnapping.” He also added: “Even if the marriage takes place at a younger age, it cannot be terminated.”
The counsel for the petitioner, Jibran Nasir, requested him to withdraw his application, and the court then proceeded to dispose of the application.
According to Dua Zehra’s own personal statement, she had left her home of her own free will and had not been forced to marry Zaheer Ahmed. She also said her life was in danger if she went back to Karachi.