Accused in Mazar-i-Quaid rape case retrial acquitted
On Tuesday, October 5, Additional District and Sessions Judge (East) Ghulam Mustafa Leghari acquitted three accused in the retrial of the 2008 Mazar-e-Quaid rape case after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
In May, the Sindh High Court had set aside the accused’s acquittal in 2013 and returned the case back to the Sessions court with directives to conduct a new trial within three months.
The then-assistant security manager of the Mazar-e-Quaid, an accountant and a personal assistant to the resident engineer of the Quaid-e-Azam Management Board were accused of raping a then 18-year-old woman near the mausoleum premises in March 2008. Two other unidentified suspects have been declared absconders, and have evaded arrest for the past 13 years.
In April 2013, then Additional District and Sessions Judge (East) Nadeem Ahmed Khan did not consider the DNA reports as evidence, observing that its utility and value as evidence did not hold under the Hudood Ordinances. The court had also noted that the accused’s identification by the rape survivor in the identification lost legal ground as the magistrate conceded that the woman did not specifically state that the three accused had raped her.
Furthermore, the court observed that no marks of violence were observed on the woman’s body during a medical examination.
In the retrial, the rape survivor’s counsel Amna Usman argued that the DNA was found to be a match, however it the verdict in the initial trial was announced per the Hudood Ordinances rather than the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). However, defence counsel Arshad Lodhi provided that none of the 10 witnesses examined in the case had identified not implicated the three accused of the crime. Furthermore, the plaintiff neither identified the accused before the police nor in court.
Regarding the DNA samples that had been obtained from the rape survivors clothes, Lodhi contended that the samples did not match.
On March 15, 2008, five men had kidnapped a young woman from the Quaid’s mausoleum and raped her. She was discovered in a feeble state outside the premises two days later. The rape survivor, who hails from Lodhran, was visiting the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi with her husband and relatives. On the night of the incident, she and her spouse entered the premises ahead of their family members – her husband turned back to retrieve the others who were waiting outside in a bus.
A power breakdown occurred, during which the woman was allegedly abducted by the accused, taken to a room where she was forced to drink alcohol and then raped.
The assistant manager of the mausoleum’s security was arrested on March 20, 2008 after the rape survivor identified him during an identification parade, while the other two were nabbed following a DNA report which confirmed a match. The accused were later released on bail.
A case was registered under Sections 376-B (punishm ent for rape) and 34 (common intention) of the PPC on a complaint of the victim’s father at the Brigade police station.
Man allegedly murders infant son
One Ghulam Mustafa, his mother Rehana Bibi and two others have been accused by his wife Kanwal Shahzadi of torturing their nine-month-old son to death. The incident occurred in the Sanda area of Lahore. Shahzadi claimed that the suspect had secretly buried their child after killing him.
Police have said that action will be taken based on the autopsy report after exhuming the corpse.
Shelter homes for trans persons in Punjab
Punjab Minister for Social Welfare Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari on Tuesday announced that the provincial government will build shelter homes for trans persons.
The statement came during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with representatives of the Punjab University Department of Development Communication, and the Social Welfare and Bait-ul-Maal department.
Bukhari added that the department has received funds for the establishing these shelter homes and that a transparent mechanism for the usage of public funds for the welfare of trans persons will also be ensured.