Acquittal in Mazar gang rape case challenged
KARACHI: The woman who was allegedly gang-raped on the premises of the Mazar-i-Quaid five years ago has approached the Sindh High Court against the acquittal of her alleged tormentors by the trial court.
The rape survivor filed an appeal against the acquittal of the then assistant manager for security of the mausoleum, an accountant and a personal assistant to the resident engineer of the Quaid-i-Azam Management Board who were charged with subjecting her to a sexual assault in March 2008.
Represented by Advocates Faisal Qureshi and Malik Waseem Iqbal, the appellant woman prayed to the court to set aside the judgement of the trial court that exonerated the three accused from all charges.
The counsel submitted that the case against the accused persons was registered on a complaint of the victim’s father.
They said that the trial court’s judgement was based on the presumption that the offence of Zina (fornication) and the offence of rape, or gang rape, under Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code were not distinct but were the same offences.
The counsel stated that the judgement was also based on the main finding that the testimonies of the complainant, victim and other witnesses were full of contradiction, improvement and tainted with forgery.
It was argued that the impugned judgement was clearly erroneous because it was a settled law that the testimony of the rape survivor, especially if it was corroborated by the medical evidence against the accused persons, could be the sole basis for the conviction of the accused persons.
The counsel contended that the trial court completely ignored the importance of the medical evidence and the forensic evidence ie a DNA test of the accused persons.
They submitted that the trial court did not consider the medical evidence and the forensic evidence (DNA report) on the pretext that there were no marks of violence on the body of the rape survivor.
The counsel stated that it was a settled law that for the conviction of rape and gang rape, marks of violence on the body of the rape survivor were not a legal requirement.
Besides, they contended that the impugned judgement did not even consider or give any finding as to why the rape survivor and the complainant would allegedly falsely implicate the accused persons.
The counsel submitted that the trial court’s judgement was based on the presumption that the convictions of rape and gang rape could not be based on DNA evidence.
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 for 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. 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.