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Govt asked to file appeal in Mazar rape acquittal

Govt asked to file appeal in Mazar rape acquittal

KARACHI: Sindh Gover­nor Imran Ismail on Wed­nes­day asked the provincial government to challenge the recent acquittal of three men in the retrial of 2008 Mazar-i-Quaid gang-rape case, calling the situation a source of “insecurity to the womenfolk throughout the country”.

After acquitting all the three accused through a short order, a sessions court in its detailed judgement last week ruled that the evidentiary value of a DNA test was not acceptable in a case falling under the penal provisions of zina punishable under the Hudood laws, which had its own “standard of proof”.

The governor wrote separate letters to the Sindh Advocate General and Pro­secu­tor General stating that the sessions court jud­ge­ment contravened a number of verdicts of the Supreme Court.

“Moreover, it has conveyed a message of insecurity to the womenfolk throughout the country, which constitutes 54 per cent of the total population. In this way a prevailing sense of insecurity has been increased for the women of the country,” the governor wrote in the letters to the top law officers of the Sindh government.

The then assistant manager security of the mausoleum, an accountant and a personal assistant to the resident engineer of the Quaid-i-Azam Management Board were charged with abducting an 18-year-old woman during a visit to the mausoleum and subjecting her to a sexual assault on the night of March 15, 2008. She was found in an unstable condition outside the mausoleum on March 17 and Rangers personnel had handed her over to the Brigade police.

In the detailed verdict, the judge noted that medico-legal officer Dr Rohina Hassan deposed that there was no mark of violence on the body of the victim, who was very sluggish. The court pointed out that the clothes of the victim produced in court as evidence were not sealed, while prosecution witness Dr Ghulam Sarwar Channa deposed that he did not see any injury on the body of the accused regarding rape.

“The DNA test may help in establishing the legitimacy of a child for several other purposes, its utility and evidentiary value is acceptable but not in a case falling under the penal provisions of zina punishable under the Hudood laws having its own standard of proof,” the judge wrote in the verdict.

However, the Sindh governor found it a “fit case” for filing an appeal before the high court within a month against the sessions court judgement in accordance with the law.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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