KARACHI: The Kainat Soomro gang-rape case took a new turn on Monday when a witness, who was abandoned by the prosecution, appeared in a sessions court as a defence witness and deposed that the nikah between the girl and her alleged husband, Ahsan, was duly registered.
The Nikah Registrar of Hyderabad district, Taj Mohammad Rahi, appeared before Additional District and Sessions Judge (south) Nizar Ali Khawaja along with the relevant record — an original nikahnama, a record register and a registration certificate issued by the Hyderabad district government.
Defence counsel Waqar Shah conducted the examination-in-chief of the witness.
Mr Rahi, a government servant, submitted that the nikahkhawan had come to his office to get the nikah between Ahsan and Kainat Soomro registered.
He added that the age of the bride mentioned in the nikahnama was 18 years.
He produced the original and copies of the record in court for the perusal of the judge and maintained that according to the official record the nikahnama was registered.
The witness was cross-examined by the public prosecutor. He asked the witness whether he made a false statement before the court and produced fake and fabricated documents. Upon which the witness replied in the negative.
Earlier, on Sept 7, defence counsel Shah filed an application in court, stating that the prosecution had given up its witnesses including Judicial Magistrate (Hyderabad) Ahmed Wagon, Molvi Shabbir Ahmed, who had apparently attested the freewill certificate and solemnised the nikah, and the nikah registrar, Hyderabad, as it feared that their evidence could go in the favour of the accused and damage the prosecution’s case. He requested the court to call these witnesses and record their testimonies. The court then directed the witnesses to appear along with the relevant record to record their testimonies.
In his statement on oath, accused Ahsan informed the court that he and Kainat Soomro had been in love with each other for the last one year [prior to the Jan 10, 2007 incident]. He said that they left their houses and reached Hyderabad where he married the girl in court without the consent of her parents.
In support of his claim, the accused also presented three photographs showing him and Kainat Soomro as bride and bridegroom in court.
However, the prosecutor cross-examined him and maintained that it was not a marriage but a case of kidnapping.
Regarding the photographs, the prosecutor said that they were not genuine, since the accused must have taken them after threatening the girl.
The court adjourned the hearing till Sept 16.
Four accused — Ahsan, Shaban Sheikh, Roshan and Kaleemullah — have been charged with kidnapping Kainat Soomro in Jan 2007 in her native village in Dadu district and subjecting her to gang-rape.
According to the prosecution, the accused had kidnapped Kainat Soomro on Jan 10, 2007 in her native village Mehar. They detained the girl for three days and subjected her to gang-rape several times. Eventually, she managed to escape while the accused persons were asleep. Later, the police arrested all the accused, including father and son, for their alleged involvement in the case.
Initially, the case was tried in the sessions court of Dadu. However, the Sindh High Court transferred it to a sessions court in Karachi on the request of the victim’s father.
A case (FIR 22/2007) was registered against the accused under Section 10(4), the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, and Sections 363, 344, 365-B and 337-J/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Mehar police station on the complaint of the victim’s father. Later, section 10(4) of Hudood Ordinance was replaced with Section 376(2) of the PPC.