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Women lawyers defend use of DNA test as primary evidence

Women lawyers defend use of DNA test as primary evidence

Islamabad: Women lawyers have defended the use of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test as evidence in rape cases saying this will help convict culprits.

“If the recommendation of the Council of Islamic Ideology to take DNA test as secondary evidence instead of primary evidence in rape cases, then question arises that whether the offence of rape revived in 2006 continues to be a Hadd offence or it is a Tazir offence. To deal with the issue of the offence of rape, the ‘Women Protection Act, 2006’ was enacted wherein the provision regarding rape was re-incorporated in Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 under sections 375 and 376, which postulate Tazir punishments for the offence of rape and therefore, the offence of rape is no more a Hadd offence,” Munazza Razzaq, lawyer at Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, told this correspondent.

The lawyer said in Pakistan, evidence in civil as well as criminal cases were taken in line with the provisions of Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order, 1984, which also cited Article 164 for recording evidence through modern techniques and devices.

She said in the current age, the latest scientific technique of DNA test was being used in the decisions of rape cases in the country.

“For example, in the cases of Muhammad Shahid Sahil versus The State (PLD 2010 Federal Shariat Court) and Amanullah versus The State (PLD 2009 Supreme Court 542), the honourable courts awarded punishments to the culprits of rape offence on the basis of DNA reports,” she said.

The lawyer said the Council of Islamic Ideology had recommended consideration of DNA test as secondary evidence and if DNA test was taken as secondary evidence, then there was a possibility of exoneration of the rape culprits and suffering of the rape victims, who might not have witnesses of the incident.

“Only medico legal report cannot be relied upon. In case of rape of a married woman, it becomes difficult to establish the offence of rape with her through medico legal report. In the situation, the DNA test is the only reliable source to establish the offence of rape,” she said.

Another high court lawyer, Lubna Sagheer, too, defended the use of DNA test as evidence in rape cases.

She said that as the law of Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order, 1984, had permitted the use of modern techniques and devices as evidence, the latest technique of DNA test could be used in rape cases as evidence.

“By allowing the use of DNA test, the courts will be in a better position to reach a conclusion, whereby the real culprit will be convicted, potential suspects will be excluded and those falsely implicated will be exonerated,” she said.

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