PESHAWAR: A child protection court on Saturday convicted a cleric for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl here two years ago and sentenced him to death with a fine of Rs100,000.
Judge Wadeeya Mustaq Malik ruled that Qari Saeed based in Peshawar was found guilty of an offence of rape and was convicted under Section 376(3) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The court also ruled that as the girl had suffered mental and physical anguish and long life trauma, so the convict should compulsorily pay a fine of Rs300,000 to her in the form of saving certificates to be withdrawn by her on attaining the age of 18 years.
“As far as the quantum of sentence is concerned, no mitigating circumstances could be found and rather, aggravating circumstances exist. The rape was committed of a girl aged eight years,” he ruled, adding that the convict was a mosque’s pesh imam (prayer leader), who committed the crime in one of its rooms.
Child protection court also fines prayer leader
The court observed that the convict held the master’s degree in Islamiyat and led Friday prayers in his mosque.
It added that the offence was gruesome as convict also committed sexual violence by biting and bruising the child on her neck.
The judge ruled: “The statement of child witness not only found confidence inspiring, truthful but also has not been contradicted on material aspect.
“Sole testimony of victim of an offence if inspires confidence can be safely relied upon for the purpose of conviction and when as rule of prudence same is supported through confirmatory medical evidence not a single circumstances can be inferred for false implication of the accused facing trial at behest of police.”
FIR of the sexual assault was registered by the police on Mar 14, 2019, on the complaint of father of the girl, who accompanied him.
The complainant had said he and other family members were present in their house when his daughter returned from outside crying and said Qari Saeed called her to the mosque on the pretext of giving away an amulet but sexually assaulted her in a room there.
The convict didn’t accept the charge and claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case at the behest of the Ahmadi community as he was very vocal against it.
He, however, failed to prove that claim.
The defence counsel also insisted that the girl might have received injuries accidentally and that she was not subjected to a sexual assault.
The state prosecutor argued that the accused was directly charged with committing the rape without the element of misidentification as he was known to the child as the mosque’s qari.
He also said the complaint was promptly registered by the police that excluded any element of prior deliberation or false implication.
The state prosecutor argued that the medical evidence supported the stand of the complainant, while ocular account of the child substantiated the case of the prosecution beyond any shadow of doubt.
The girl was also produced in the court as witness where she testified against the pesh-imam.
She said she was given a Rs10 currency note by her father to buy candies and when she was returning from the shop, the convict had asked her to accompany him to the nearby mosque for obtaining an amulet for an acquaintance.
The girl said the convict took her to his room in the mosque and sexually assaulted her.
The court has also invoked a provision of the KP Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010, barring the publishing of any information regarding the girl’s identity, including picture, name, status, address or school.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2021