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SHC allows Dua Zahra to decide her fate

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  • “In light of all evidence, this is not kidnapping case,” SHC says.
  • Court says it reached a verdict in line with testimonies.
  • Dua is at liberty to decide as to whom she intends to reside with, it says. 

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) Wednesday allowed teenager Dua Zahra — who had mysteriously gone missing from Karachi in April but later declared that she had run away from her home to marry 21-year-old Zaheer Ahmed — to decide where she wants to go, with her parents or husband.

In a three-page written order, Justice Junaid Ghaffar said the court reached the verdict in line with the testimonies. “In light of all the evidence, this is not a case of kidnapping.”

“…the alleged/minor Dua E Zahra Kazmi, pursuant to her statement on Oath and Age Certificate is set at liberty to decide as to whom she intends to reside and go along,” the order read.

In the order, the court also said that it has decided to dispose of Zahra’s father’s — Mehdi Ali Kazmi — petition for her recovery as the case of his daughter was not of kidnapping.

For the production of Dua before the Lahore High Court later this week, the SHC said the Sindh Police is at liberty to produce it if required. But the judge said that “we, after production and statement of the alleged abductee Dua, are not inclined to issue any further directions to that effect.”

Dua wants to ‘go home’

The SHC earlier in the day reserved the verdict after police presented Dua and her 21-year-old husband Zaheer Ahmed before the court after the ossification test as per the court’s orders passed in the last hearing.

During today’s hearing, Justice Ghaffar allowed Dua’s parents to meet her for 10 minutes in his chambers as they were not permitted to speak to her earlier.

On Monday, Dua refused to meet her parents. It was the first time she was presented before the SHC after she was recovered by the Punjab police more than one-and-a-half months into her mysterious disappearance.

But today, after meeting her parents, the girl’s mother spoke to journalists and said that Zahra told her that she wants to come home.

“My daughter said in the meeting that I want to go home. Dua said she will give her statement in court,” the mother said.

Dua’s father challenges test report

The SHC had ordered the authorities to conduct an ossification test to determine Dua Zahra’s age. She had claimed to be 18 years old — old enough to marry out of her own free will.

The ossification test report, however, suggested Dua is 16 or 17 years old. The report was also confirmed by a radiologist, Dr Saba Jamil. However, Dua’s father Kazmi has expressed reservations over the medical report of his daughter and termed it “false”.

He challenged the report in court.

Talking to the media, Mehdi’s counsel Altaf Khoso said the report is based on malafide intent and that they have all the documents that provide evidence for Dua’s age.

“No medical board was formed for the determination of Dua’s age and a junior doctor prepared the report but the court has to decide,” Khoso said.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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