KARACHI: A sessions court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment in a case pertaining to the rape of a teenage girl.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (South) Ashraf Hussain Khowaja convicted Saghar as he was found guilty of committing an offence under Section 376 (rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), after recording evidence and hearing arguments from both sides.

The court also fined him Rs50,000 and ruled that in case of default, he shall serve additional three months.

According to state prosecutor Irfana Qadri, the girl, between 16 and 17 years of age, testified in the court that in July 2022, her father dropped her outside her madressah near Manzoor Colony. But instead of entering the institution, she went to a local shop to buy something.

She claimed that she was then ‘abducted’ by the accused and taken to Quetta where she was sexually assaulted. The girl also stated that she came to know about the accused’s religion in Quetta.

Later, acting on a tip-off, police conducted a raid near Allah Wala Town, recovered the victim and apprehended the accused.

But the court dismissed the prosecution’s plea of abduction, noting that the victim did not allege that the accused was armed with a weapon or he used any intoxicating substances.

The court also pointed out that the victim admitted in her statement that en route to Quetta, police had checked on them, but she did not ask for their help.

During a cross-examination, the victim stated that she was unaware of the accused before the incident. She denied claims that the accused had converted to Islam and married with her in Qalat.

Addressing the accused’s claims, the court noted that he claimed that he had embraced Islam and married the victim.

However, the court observed that during the trial, he failed to produce any evidence of his conversion like sanad or a marriage certificate (nikahnama) to support his claim.

The case was registered at the Baloch Colony police station against the accused under sections 365-B (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel for marriage etc.) and 376 (rape) of the PPC.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2024

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