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Three acquitted in Mazar rape case for ‘want of evidence’

Ishaq Tanoli

KARACHI: A sessions court on Saturday acquitted three men in a case pertaining to the gang rape of a young woman on the premises of the Mazar-e-Quaid for want of evidence.

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 subjecting the young woman to a sexual assault in March 2008.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (east) Nadeem Ahmed Khan pronounced his verdict after recording evidence of witnesses and final arguments from both sides.

The court in its judgment observed that the evidence advanced by the prosecution had become tainted with “forgeries, contractions, improvement, omission and substitution”.

Discarding the testimonies of the rape survivor, her husband and her father, the court ruled that it appeared that their evidence was full of glaring contradictions and improvement, which made the case doubtful.

The court did not treat the DNA reports as evidence and observed that while they might be helpful in establishing the parentage of a child and other purposes, its utility and evidentiary value was not acceptable under the Hudood laws since they had their own standard of evidence.

The identification parade, in which the rape survivor had identified one of the accused, lost the legal weight since the magistrate concerned admitted during his evidence before the trial court that the rape survivor had not specifically stated that the accused committed the offence, the court order said.

The court further observed that nothing came on record regarding the place of the recovery of the rape survivor and how she came with Rangers, who handed her over to police. However, no Rangers personnel were examined though they were very important witnesses, it added.

The court ruled that as per medical examination reports there was no mark of violence on the body of the rape survivor while no injury was seen on the bodies of the accused regarding rape.

Referring to a verse from the Quran, the court stated that someone who made a charge of zina was required to produce four witnesses to support the allegations and upon failure the complainant was liable to suffer punishment prescribed in the said verse.

The court also reproduced a page in its verdict from Maulana Abul Ala Maududi’ voluminous Tafheem-ul-Quran on the point of four witnesses in rape cases.According to the prosecution, an 18-year-old girl was subjected to a sexual assault after being kidnapped on the premises of the Mazar by around five men on the night of March 15, 2008 and was found in an unstable condition outside the mausoleum on March 17.

The victim from Lodhran, accompanied by her husband and other relatives, came to Karachi on March 15, 2008 and paid a visit to the Quaid’s mausoleum at night. The couple went inside earlier than the rest of the family members. However, the moment her husband left to bring in the remaining family members, who were waiting outside in a bus, a power breakdown occurred and the victim was allegedly kidnapped by the accused, taken to a room where she was forced to drink wine and sexually assaulted, it added.

An assistant manager security of the mausoleum was taken into custody on March 20, 2008 after the victim identified him as one of the accused during an identification parade, while two others were arrested following the receipt of the DNA report that confirmed their involvement in the case, the prosecution said. Later, all the accused were released on bail.

A case (FIR 50/08) was registered under Sections 376-B (punishment for rape) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of the victim’s father at the Brigade police station.

Source: Dawn

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