ISLAMABAD, Sept 23: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Monday formally relegated the DNA test to supporting evidence in rape cases, belying reports last week suggesting that the council might accord the scientifically proven test prime importance in investigations against rape suspects.

Speaking at a press conference here on Monday, CII Chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani said that “the DNA test is not acceptable as primary evidence in rape cases, but it could be considered as supporting evidence”.

Maulana Sherani explained that though DNA testing was a useful and modern technique for supporting evidence, it alone could not be used as primary evidence. He said a court of law could decide in the light of DNA test when it was taken into account with other evidence as a supporting material.

Some members of the council, known as reformers and reportedly led by Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, were for ‘according’ the DNA test prime importance on the sole basis of which a rape suspect could be handed down punishment. However, hardliners led by the council chief thought otherwise and prevailed in the end.

At the press conference the CII head reiterated the council’s assertion for the rejection of the Women’s Protection Act of 2006, saying its provisions were not in line with Islamic injunctions. He added that the Hadood Ordinance dealt with all these offences and that Islam set procedures to determine crime cases of rape.

About the sensitive blasphemy law, the CII chairman said it should not be amended and that the Pakistan Penal Code already had sections which dealt with sentences for those who misused any law of the land, adding that a judge could invoke those relevant sections to award sentences.

There were speculations that some members of the council were of the view that a person making a false accusation should face death penalty because the words attributed to the accused were actually uttered by the accuser.

Taking note of recent media discussion on the unconfirmed reports attributed to the CII, Mr Sherani said the council had unanimously decided that no member would comment on any decision of the council’s meeting unless the matter was elaborated and explained in a press release or press briefing by the body.