— File Photo
— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The provincial assembly of Sindh is expected to take up a bill in its next session seeking DNA tests of the accused as well as victims in rape cases.

If taken, the landmark step would revamp the process of investigation of rape cases and offer great solace to the victims seeking justice against the brutal crime.

“The DNA testing (is) mandatory in Rape cases, in order to infuse certainty in the pursuit of justice by identifying the guilty and exonerating the innocent, and for matters connected therewith, or incidental thereto,” the bill moved by MPA Sharmila Faruqui reads.

The bill, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was submitted in the Sindh Secretariat on Friday and says that it is expedient and necessary to make DNA Testing mandatory for rape victims, as primary evidence, for effective dispensation of justice.

The bill seems to be a rejoinder to a recent argument by clerics-dominated Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) that DNA tests in rape cases were not in line with Islamic injunctions.

In its last month meeting the CII deliberated whether the DNA tests should be considered as admissible evidence in rape crimes. Though the CII did not make any decision, but some of the arguments of its members were disturbing.

Alama Tahir Ashrafi, a CII member, explained the council never made a formal decision against the DNA tests. He said the council would meet after Eid to take up the matter.

Every year, thousands of women face rape crimes. Majority cases go unreported. Those reported rarely reach any logical conclusion because under Hudood laws, a victim is required to produce four witnesses to prove she was raped.

Once approved, the bill shall be called the “Mandatory DNA Testing Act, 2013” and would have its jurisdiction to the whole of the Sindh province.

The bill seeks that the Sindh government must arrange for forensic labs and collection centers in every district of the province within 90 days from the date of its approval.

“DNA Testing shall be mandatorily conducted for the Rape Victim. In case a complaint is lodged within Optimal Time, Intimate DNA Sample shall be collected from the Rape Victim within the Optimal Time or within 12 hours from the lodging of the complaint, whichever is earlier,” it reads.

Even after the lapse of the optimal time, the police authorities and medical personnel shall make all efforts to collect and preserve Intimate DNA Sample and Non-Intimate DNA Sample to help the investigation.

Under the bill the rape victims would be escorted under police security to the hospital or forensic lab for the DNA Testing. It calls for maintaining complete privacy to the victim

The bill restricts any male police personnel or member of any other investigating agency to investigate, question or record statement of the victim. Likewise, the DNA tests can only be conducted by the female medical experts.

The bill seeks complete confidentiality of the information collected through the tests. It asks the government to make necessary arrangements to have best facilities to conduct the tests.

It is made obligatory to the provincial government to constitute Sindh DNA Testing Fund to bear all expenses relating to collection of DNA sample and conducting of DNA testing

Meanwhile, Ms Farooqi dispatched a letter to Sindh chief minister to make administration of DNA test and preservation of DNA evidence mandatory in all rape cases in accordance with a Supreme Court judgment dated October 2, 2012.

She urged upon the chief minister to set up a DNA test Laboratory in Karachi and bear cost of all DNA tests in rape cases.

She also requested the chief minister to direct – through the ministry of law – prosecutor general, Sindh and other provincial prosecution agencies to ensure strict implementation of a Sindh Assembly resolution in all rape cases.

Last month, the Sindh Assembly passed the resolution calling for DNA testing in all rape cases.

— Shahzad Raza is a freelance contributor. His twitter handle is @shahz79

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Comments (12) (Closed)


Kam East
Jul 06, 2013 12:07am

About time too! Also it should be made compulsory for all offences against women and children to be investigated by the FIA as the police are evil, corrupt stooges of tha dirty evil rapists. Bring in the death penalty for ALL sexual crimes against women and children NOW!!

Imran A.
Jul 06, 2013 12:28am

A victory for Pakistan & Muslims... and a break away from from illiterate clerics

ahmed
Jul 06, 2013 12:31am

How can we trust western system? We should only use sharia for these cases.

chilas
Jul 06, 2013 12:38am

Yeah right, with the type of police we have, how will the victim be taken to the hospital so quickly, they will rape her again instead.

sajid
Jul 06, 2013 01:19am

The proof of rape adulty is 4 witnesses of good character why are we wasting money on dna testing

Khalid
Jul 06, 2013 02:23am

That is a good start. We need to change all such laws, specially the blasphemy law. Sindh has shown the others a way forward. Well done Sharmila. You are the first person who is connected to PPP that I like.

sohail
Jul 06, 2013 05:27am

and how is rape proven in secular laws? you do realize that DNA is not a CCTV camera dont you?

sohail
Jul 06, 2013 05:30am

Mufti Taqi's response to the lack of understanding of four witnesses: "What is the rationale for removing the Shariah punishment for rape? The authors argue that the Hudood Ordinance treated a victim of rape who was unable to produce four witnesses as a criminal herself; she was jailed for allegedly having committed adultery. This claim is simply false.

I myself had been directly hearing cases registered under Hudood Ordinance, first as a Judge of Federal Shariah Court and then for seventeen years as a member of Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court. In this long tenure, not once did I come across a case in which a rape victim was awarded punishment simply because she was unable to present four witnesses.

In fact it was not possible to do so. First, according to the Hudood Ordinance, the condition of four witnesses only applied to enforcing the hadd for rape. Clause 10(3), which awarded the ta’zeer punishment, did not have this requirement; the crime could be proven through one witness, medical reports, and chemical analysis report. Consequently most rape criminals were awarded punishment as per this clause.

Further, a woman claiming rape could not be punished under Qazf (false accusation of zina) since Exemption 2 in Qazf Ordinance Clause 3 clearly stated that if someone approaches the legal authorities with a rape complaint, she could not be punished in case she was unable to present four witnesses.

The only possibility was that the woman could be awarded punishment for committing adultery with her own free will. Obviously, if the available evidence did prove her guilt, punishing her was the just course of action. However, such cases were rare, since usually there was insufficient evidence to prove that the woman was lying; in 99% of the cases the court was neither convinced that the man had compelled the woman, nor could it prove her guilt and so she was given the benefit of doubt and set free."

illawarrior
Jul 06, 2013 08:13am

well done!

Muhammad Farooq
Jul 06, 2013 08:49am

so standard of justice dispensed to the rape victims in the province of Sindh would differ from other provinces for the similar crime. Is it fair to the victims in other provinces?

Abdur Rahman
Jul 06, 2013 02:36pm

It is a blatant lie that under hudood ordinance a rape victim is required to produce four witnesses to prove her innocence! This lie has been spoken so profusely all these years by the shameless, anti-Sharia elements that it is now considered an accepted fact.
Hudood laws in Islam have nothing to do with all rape cases, for God sake! It is a specific law in which a person is stoned to death (if married) and whipped or lashed for hundred times (if unmarried) if adultery or rape is done in front of at least four witnesses. These crimes can be investigated, proved and penalized with death, life imprisonment or both even if there are no witnesses at all and there is enough scientific and circumstantial evidence to prove. To hell with the ignorant maulvis and liberals!!

Haydar
Jul 06, 2013 08:21pm

No matter which way the bill goes, affluence will always find a way to influence the verdict