KARACHI: The inspector general of police (IGP) on Wednesday informed the Sindh High Court that the special sexual offences investigation units (SSOIUs) had been notified in accordance with the Anti-Rape (Trial and Investigation) Act, 2021 to exclusively probe rape cases across the province.

He further submitted that the additional IG Karachi, DIGs, SSPs of all districts and SSP investigations Karachi had been directed to ensure that officers nominated for SSOIUs of their respective districts were not reposted elsewhere without notifying substitute officer.

On Sept 6, during the hearing of a bail application of a suspect in a case pertaining to rape, the SHC had observed that the anti-rape law was enacted in 2021 to provide speedy justice to the victims of rape and sexual violence and the establishment of SSOIUs in every district to investigate such cases.

However, it had further noted that the case in question was registered in April, but the SSOIU had failed to conduct the investigation and summoned the IG with direction to file a detailed report about implementation of the law.

When the matter came up for hearing before the single-judge bench, headed by Justice Amjad Ali Sahito on Wednesday, IG-Sindh Riffat Mukhtar Raja along with other senior police officers was in attendance and filed a report.

The IG in the report maintained that investigating officers appointed earlier to probe gender based violence cases had been included in the SSOIUs working at each district of Sindh.

The report said that as per the statistics provided by the DIGs of eight police ranges/zones of the province including Karachi’s East, West and South zones and Sukkur, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad ranges, a total of 1,831 cases had been lodged across the province under the Anti-Rape (Trial and Investigation) Act since the enactment of the law.

Charge sheets had been filed in 1,032 cases and reports were filed by police in courts in A-class (suspects untreatable), B-class (bogus) & C-class (cancelation) class in 107, 21 and 536 cases, while 118 cases were under investigation and accused persons had been acquitted in 300 such cases whereas conviction were awarded in 32 cases, it added.

The report also asserted that a departmental action was initiated against five delinquent investigating officers for poor and defective investigations.

The bench took the report on record. The lawyer for the applicant submitted that he was not pressing the plea if the court passed a directive to the trial court to expedite and conclude the case preferably in 60 days. The additional prosecutor general did not oppose the proposal.

Thereafter, the bench passed the order accordingly and directed the trial court to proceed with the matter on day-to-day basis.

According to the prosecution, the victim stated that she was subjected to rape at her house on April 11, within the remit of the Arambagh police station by the applicant, who was her adopted brother.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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