LAHORE: As DNA test report is not admissible as an evidence as per a ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Qanoon-i-Shahadat, therefore the investigation team will have to produce some other evidence that could corroborate the Punjab Forensic Science Agency’s report of the alleged rapist and killer of minor girls in Kasur to ensure his conviction.

It transpired during background discussions with officials of the Punjab government who guide it on legal matters, both civil and criminal.

A senior official said the Lahore High Court had in certain cases allowed DNA reports as evidence, but he too admitted that the restriction imposed by the Supreme Court in this regard could be a hurdle in the suspect’s conviction.

DNA test is considered an admissible evidence in most of the countries because of, what the legal experts said, its basic function of irrefutably identifying the involvement of a person in a crime.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had on Tuesday night said the DNA tests had established that Imran Ali was the “culprit” in the Kasur rape and murder cases, including that of Zainab, that shook the entire country. He had also mentioned the success of polygraph test of the suspect that is conducted to establish if a suspect was lying or not.

Some media reports indicated that the investigation team had obtained vital evidence of the suspect who was remanded into their custody for interrogation by an anti-terrorism court on Wednesday.

According to insiders, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Dost Muhammad had in criminal appeals (No 497 and 496) of 2009 declared on October 15, 2015 that under Section 510 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) the report of biochemical expert (a biochemist) on DNA was not covered thus it was open to a serious debate because under the above mentioned provision of law, specified experts’ reports, excluding the report of the (DNA) expert, have been made admissible.

“This aspect would be discussed and decided in some other cases elaborately. However, at present we are unable to hold the same as an admissible piece of evidence in absence of any sanction of law,” the judgment says.

Elaborating how DNA tests could be faulty and which measures had been taken by various countries to prevent this, the court declared: “In any case, it is an expert opinion and even it is admitted into the evidence and relied upon, (it) would in no manner be sufficient to connect the necks of the appellants with the commission of the crime when the bulk of other evidence has been held by us unbelievable thus no reliance can be placed on it to award a capital sentence.”

In another paragraph, the court maintained: “As discussed earlier, the entire case of the prosecution is based on circumstantial evidence. The principle of law, consistently laid down by this court is that different pieces of such evidence have to make one chain, an unbroken one where one end of it touches the dead and the other the neck of the accused.”

Insiders said the Punjab government had established its forensic science laboratory under an authority with millions of rupees and employed the top most technical people to run it so as to have the criminals punished with solid undeniable scientific evidence like the DNA reports like many other countries which had adopted the technique around three decades ago.

In view of the judgment, an effort was made to insert a new clause in the Qanoon-i-Shahadat to make the DNA reports admissible evidence. But, the effort could not succeed due to certain reasons.

“We need to consider the issue very seriously at the national level. Declaring DNA reports admissible evidence is necessary to punish criminals in our country where weak police investigations lead to acquittals and eye-witnesses are either shooed away or are eliminated,” an official said.

Some other law-knowing officials said till this was done, the government agencies concerned should find other evidence that could corroborate the DNA report of the suspect in Kasur case.

“If he is the actual killer he should not be allowed to take benefit of any legal flaw,” an official said, also advising the police to have his confessional statement recorded in the presence of a judicial magistrate to give it authenticity. “A confession before police is of no legal value,” he remarked.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2018