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Dua Zehra is free to go wherever she wants, Lahore court rules

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  • Dua says she wasn’t kidnapped, left of her own free will to marry.
  • Lahore court rejects police’s appeal to shift girl to Darul Aman.
  • Dua has filed a case against her father and cousin.

LAHORE: A court in Punjab’s capital Tuesday ruled that Dua Zehra — the girl who mysteriously went missing from Karachi around 10 days back and was found today — was free to go wherever she wants.

Lahore Model Town Court’s Judicial Magistrate Tasawar Iqbal rejected the police request to shift the girl to Darul Aman after she was presented before the court hours after her video statement came to light.

Before announcing the verdict, the judge sent her husband, Zaheer, outside the courtroom to record her statement.

Dua told the judge that she was 18 years of age, came from Karachi to Lahore willingly, no one had kidnapped her, and she did not want to go to Darul Aman.

“I am safe, my life is not in danger,” Dua told the judge. Following this, the judge ordered that she be allowed to go “wherever she wants”, and the police let the couple go free.

Dua files kidnapping case against father

Dua had earlier filed a case against her father Mehdi Ali Kazmi and a cousin, Zainul Abideen, in a Lahore court. Despite the case being filed in Lahore, the police have claimed they found the couple from Pakpattan.

The Punjab police spokesperson had also said that the Karachi police were informed of every development in the case, and all possible coordination was being made.

Meanwhile, in her case, Dua had accused Kazmi of barging into her house in Lahore and trying to kidnap her with the help of her cousin.

“My father wanted to force me to marry my cousin Zainul Abideen. My father and Abideen storm into my house and verbally abused and threatened me and my husband,” Dua said in her complaint.

She said that her neighbours foiled the kidnapping bid.

Dua also said that she has married of her own free will, and she is “living a happy life with my husband”.

Maintaining that she wants to stay with her husband, Dua demanded action against Kazmi and Abideen under the code of criminal procedure.

The magistrate’s court took up Dua’s case and summoned her with evidence against her father on May 18.

Moreover, Dua also filed a separate petition against harassment at a district and sessions court.

The video message

Meanwhile, a video message of Dua has also surfaced in which she says she was not kidnapped and left home herself and married Zaheer Ahmed. She said her family was forcing her to marry someone else.

The couple were reportedly staying at Zaheer’s uncle’s home.

A day earlier, Karachi police said that Dua tied the knot with a resident of Lahore. The marriage certificate of the couple has been obtained by the police and is being verified.

It is being reported that the couple have filed a harassment petition at a sessions court, where Dua also recorded her statement on April 19.

As per the sources, Dua and her husband are expected to record their statements with the police.

Dua Zehra has submitted an affidavit in favour of her husband, in which she has confirmed her marriage with Zaheer Ahmed on April 17.

“I didn’t take anything along with me while leaving home,” Dua said in the video statement.

She also denied being 14 years old and said her family had given the police the wrong information.

“I am an adult and my correct age is 18 years,” she said adding that she is living a happy life with her husband and asked not to be bothered.

Parents deny Dua’s claims

Soon after the video message surfaced, Dua’s father, in a press conference, denied her claims questioning how his daughter could be 18 years old when he had not even been married for 18 years.

Mehdi Ali Kazmi said he was married on May 7, 2005, and he has Dua’s birth certificate with April 27, 2008, as her date of birth.

He demanded the authorities bring Dua back to them or shift her to a child protection centre. He also demanded a thorough investigation of what actually was the matter in this case.

“I request Sindh inspector general, and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to bring my daughter back. I fully trust the child protection bureau […] hand the girl over to them.

“My daughter is saying what she is told to say. […] The boy trapped my daughter through the in-game messaging system,” Kazmi said.

Moreover, Dua’s mother said that as a lawyer’s daughter she has aware enough to know that the marriage certificate is not legal.

“The nikah nama does not have the seal of the person who solemnised the marriage,” she said.

The person whose name is written on the marriage certificate has also refuted reports of solemnising the marriage, she added.

Dua’s mother expressed concern that her daughter might have been blackmailed through a video.

Another video message of Dua with Zaheer later came to the fore, where she repeated that she willingly came with the man and married him in court.

Meanwhile, Zaheer said he is a resident of Lahore and claimed he knew Dua for three years.

He said that they came into contact through an online video game, PUBG.

Zaheer also claimed that Dua has come from Karachi of her own will.

A day earlier, commenting on the reports of her recovery, Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Operations Dr Abid Khan had said the Lahore police have shared the Dua’s nikkah nama with their Karachi counterpart and are using the document to trace her.

“There is no truth to the reports of Dua’s recovery […] the real facts behind this matter can only be verified once the girl is in our custody,” the police officer had told journalists.

The case

The case of the mysterious disappearance of the teenage girl from Karachi’s Al-Falah shook everyone. She went missing from the Golden Town area 10 days ago, triggering a sense of fear among the masses.

Police conducted multiple raids but failed to find the girl. The police had claimed that she might have left the house of her own choice but the family had rejected it.

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Pakistan

‘Acute food insecurity to rise in Pakistan over next six months’

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Pakistan and 21 other crisis-hit countries will witness an increase in acute food insecurity over the next six months, according to a new early warning report issued by two Rome-based UN agencies.

The report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) calls for urgent attention to save both lives and livelihoods. It covers the period from June to November 2023.

Called ‘Hunger Hotspots — WFP-FAO early warnings on acute food insecurity’, the report identified 18 hotspots with Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen placed at the highest alert level and Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and Sudan elevated to the highest concern levels.

“Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in a statement.  

“We need to provide immediate time-sensitive agricultural interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity. Investing in disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector can unlock significant resilience dividends and must be scaled up,” he added.

The report also highlighted the risk of a spill-over of the Sudan crisis raising the risk of neighbouring countries to negative impacts.

“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” WFP’s Executive Director Cindy McCain said in a statement.

“This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don’t, the results will be catastrophic,” McCain warned.

In addition, global economic shocks and stressors continue to drive “acute hunger” across almost all hotspots, the report added.

With unusually high global food prices, low to middle-income countries will likely be driven further into a deep crisis, it added.

Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Myanmar, which has been included in the latest report for the first time, were described as hotspots of very high concern.

“All these hotspots have a large number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life-threatening conditions in the coming months,” the report warned.

Lebanon, El Salvador and Nicaragua have all been added to the list of hotspots since the last edition was published and El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua have been included in the report again.

To avert a further deterioration of acute hunger and malnutrition, the report provides concrete country-specific recommendations on priorities for an immediate emergency response to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods, as well as anticipatory action.

Humanitarian action will be critical in preventing starvation and death – particularly in the highest alert hotspots, but the report notes how humanitarian access is constrained by insecurity, bureaucratic barriers, and movement restrictions – posing a major challenge to humanitarian responders around the globe.

The report also stresses the importance of strengthening anticipatory action in humanitarian and development assistance – ensuring predictable hazards do not become full-blown humanitarian disasters.

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Punjab polls case hearing adjourned indefinitely after suo motu review law ‘comes into effect’

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  • Larger bench to hear review plea under new law.
  • CJP Bandial says the situation is “interesting”.
  • Court indefinitely adjourns hearing on ECP plea.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Monday indefinitely adjourned the hearing on the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition against the top court’s order of holding Punjab’s general elections on May 14 after the court was apprised that a law for the review of suo motu judgements had come into effect.

The Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023, came into force Friday after President Arif Alvi’s assent. The law states that for reviewing a suo motu judgement, a bigger bench — than the one that issued the order — will hear the case.

“In case of judgements and orders of the SC in exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184 of the Constitution, the scope of review on both facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution,” the law reads.

A three-member bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — heard the plea.

This is the same bench that issued the April 4 verdict — under Article 184 (3) or the suo motu law. It had directed the commission to hold elections in Punjab in the mid of May and ordered the federal and Punjab governments to provide assistance to the ECP.

Despite the top court’s order, the federal government expressed its inability to provide funds to the election commission and the armed forces had said they could not provide security due to the ongoing law and order situation.

So even with the presence of the order, the polls did not take place on May 14.

‘Happy’ CJP

At the outset of today’s hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan told the court that a law for challenging suo motu orders has come into effect.

He added that under the new law’s section 2, the orders issued under Article 184 (3) could be appealed against.

“This law will have retrospective effect,” he noted, at which Justice Akhtar said this is why ECP lawyer Sajeel Swati is smiling.

Responding to the AGP, CJP Bandial said the situation is interesting. He added that the court understands the need for reviewing suo motu orders.

Through the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, the government created a new “judicial jurisdiction”, the CJP noted, adding that the rulers tried intervening with the court’s administrative matters.

“But I am happy that this law [the review act] is only related to Article 184(3).”

The CJP added that “everyone” should reconsider their stance.

“After the May 9 incidents, try to find a silver lining. Try to bridge the differences. Try to bring balance and peace to the system and hold elections through the right procedure.”

Court did not invalidate commission: CJP

Moving on, the CJP told the attorney-general that he must have read the court’s judgement in the audio leaks commission case. “Keep in mind that the court did not invalidate the commission,” CJP Banidal remarked.

It may be noted that the Supreme Court Friday stayed the proceedings of the high-powered judicial commission formed to probe the audio leaks related to the judiciary, as well as the federal government’s notification on the commission’s constitution.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, when he resumed the proceedings of the audio leaks commission the next day, raised questions over the SC order stopping the judicial panel from working.

Today, CJP Bandial said that the court has to protect the independence of the judiciary.

The top judge remarked that things will not work when secret meetings take place.

“It is a historical accident that there is only one chief justice,” he added.

The CJP said that the court had seen the notifications for the Memogate Commission, Abbottabad Commission and the commissions set up in the Shahzad Saleem murder case. He said that all the judicial commissions are constituted at the will of the chief justice.

“If you want to investigate something, it should be done through proper procedures. I will not form a commission consisting myself,” he added.

The top judge also gave the option of investigations through another judge, saying that “this political temperature will not improve livelihood and law and order”.

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Pakistani surgeon sets world record in robotic surgery for women

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LONDON: A Pakistani surgeon Dr Amer Raza is leading the innovative Da Vinci surgical robotic surgery for the treatment of endometriosis, which affects pregnancy for women of all ages.

Dr Raza has led a team of surgeons to perform the maximum number of complex gynaecology operations in two days at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital — setting a new record of not only using an innovative robotic technology but also doing 12 major operations in a day.

Amer Raza, a graduate of Nishtar Medical College, Multan, has not only performed the operations but also set a world record of doing 12 major operations in a day. 

Robotic surgery is the most modern type of keyhole surgery in which a surgeon operates in the patient’s abdomen through instruments controlled from a distance.

Dr Raza is a renowned expert in endometriosis, in which women suffer from pelvic pains and period pains which have a major adverse impact on conceiving. The condition not only affects the pelvic organs but also the bowel, bladder and nerves. The disease affects women from young age to old age and tens of millions of women across the world suffer from this condition.

He graduated from Nishtar Medical College, Multan, and has been trained as a laparoscopic surgeon. He is now one of the world’s leading surgeons in endometriosis and complex pelvic disease.

He is also the director of the world-class International Centre of Endometriosis Cromwell Hospital, London, and is leading a big team of multi-speciality surgeons. Dr Raza is also the Founder and Director of CCMIG Chelsea Centre of minimal access surgery, which organises national and international laparoscopic courses across the world. He travels to the Middle East, Pakistan, Africa and Europe to teach laparoscopic gynaecology courses.

An undated image of a team of doctors performing a robotic surgery. — Photo by author
An undated image of a team of doctors performing a robotic surgery. — Photo by author

Speaking to Geo News, Dr Amer Raza said: “Since COVID, our National Health Service (NHS) has been under huge pressure of long waiting times. We have pioneered the most efficient strategic planning to do the most number of operations with the help of robotics in two days. Robotics technology allows a doctor to complete the operation in a shorter time with more safety and accuracy than a conventional approach. I am very excited that we have achieved this landmark and that our efforts will help women of all age groups.

“Robotic surgery is now attracting the attention of clinicians and patients alike due to its benefits. The technique will be adopted in hospitals across the world and many robotic systems are being introduced in the health sector. Endometriosis causes debilitating symptoms including chronic pelvic pain, fatigue and fertility problems. Surgery can help to provide pain relief.”

Dr Raza said that he and his team crafted a care model in which preoperative work, surgical approach by robotics and after-operation discharge was planned. Robotic surgery allows the team to finish the operation in a relatively shorter time than a conventional laparoscopic approach, saving 30-50 minutes in each surgery to enable the team to do more operations.

“The new technique also causes less blood loss and the recovery period is significantly faster. We were assisted by a team of 20 staff members who worked very efficiently to enable us to do this,” said the British Pakistani doctor.

Dr Raza said he owes a lot to Pakistan and will be working with doctors and hospitals in Pakistan to introduce robotic technology to help women. “I look forward to working with doctors in Pakistan. Britain has thousands of doctors from Pakistan who are doing great work in the NHS. I am glad that the British press has highlighted my contribution which is a credit to Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Raza has recently been featured on Channel 4 and dozens of English papers covering his achievement and hailing it as a breakthrough for women. 

Pakistani surgeon Dr Amer Raza. — Photo by author
Pakistani surgeon Dr Amer Raza. — Photo by author

He said that one in 10 women in the UK are affected by endometriosis. There are many ways to explain the disease but primarily the inside lining of the uterus called endometrium comes outside the uterus and leads to adhesions and causing pelvic pains. 

The diseases increase in over half of the cases and cause severe debilitating problems such as bowel and ureteric issues. Endometriosis involves the ovaries in almost half the cases and can cause damage to ovaries and fertility.

According to NHS statistics, half a million women are currently on a waiting list for gynaecology treatment in the UK and more than 5,000 have been waiting more than 18 months. The organisation and strategic planning along with innovative robotic surgery is the way forward to address the huge backlog in the NHS.

Dr Raza is originally from the village of Babi in Tehsil Taunsa. He started his career at Nishtar Medical College Multan and then moved to the UK in Birmingham. He has worked in many hospitals before being employed as endometriosis and laparoscopic surgeon in Chelsea and Westminster hospitals.

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