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SHC gives temporary custody of teenage girl to parents

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday temporarily handed over the custody of the teenage girl — who had gone missing from Karachi in April 2022 but was later found to have married 21-year-old Zaheer Ahmed in Lahore — to her parents. 

Justice Iqbal Kalhoro of the SHC heard the case today during which the 14-year-old was also presented before the court.

During the hearing, Justice Kalhoro asked the girl whether she wanted to stay at the shelter home or with her parents. The 14-year-old told the judge that she wanted to stay with her parents.

The court then asked the parents — Mehdi Kazmi and Saima Kazmi — to submit a bond of Rs1 million. However, the permanent custody of the girl will be decided by the trial court.

The court also said that a child protection officer along with female police will visit the girl every week. It also said that the child protection officer will submit a report to the court after meeting with the teenager.

Justice Kalhoro also ordered that the girl will not be allowed to leave Pakistan until the case is decided.

Meanwhile, Zaheer’s lawyer argued that the petition is inadmissible. “The girl was kept in a shelter home on court orders. It is not a case of habeas corpus,” added the lawyer.

He also said that Zaheer should be allowed to meet with the girl.

Reforms needed to curb child marriage 

The girl’s lawyer, Jibran Nasir, welcomed the decision and said that the child is finally going home after a seven-month-long battle.

Taking to Twitter, Jibran said: “There are many lessons to be learnt from this case and reforms are needed to curb child marriages.”

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