Monday , March 18 2019

Pakistan passes new law making DNA tests mandatory in rape probe

The new law also erases from Qanun e Shahadat the facility relating to questioning the character of the victim of rape.


Islamabad: Pakistan Parliament’s combined sitting on Friday passed two important laws, one law seeking to curb murders in the name of honor and the other to punish rapists by use of modern technology of DNA testing in inquiries involving rape cases.

Both the bills, firstly moved by former Politician Sughra Imam, were passed unanimously by the Senate sometime back and later moved in the Combined Sitting of the Parliament by Politician Farhatullah Babar on the expiry of Imams term in the Council.

Under the existing laws, a close relative murdered a woman in the name of honor and was promptly forgiven by another close family member. Thus the killer would walk away factually without any punishment.

It cannot be the spirit of religion to disregard pre-meditated murder with mysterious murders, he stated.

He stated that the anti-honor killing bill was passed by the Council Committee in 2014 when it was led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Senator.

Then it was passed by the 104 member Council by consensus including the religious parties. He stated that under the anti-terror laws murder was not compoundable and Qisas and Diyat did not apply.

In the same way, Women Protection Act of 2004 also excluded from compound ability murders.

If it was not an issue of ideology and religion, how it can be an issue of ideology now, he asked. He stated that opposition to excluding from Qisas and Diyat law and to make non-compoundable murders in the name of honor was motivated by politics and not religion.

The legislation passed by the combined session today makes 25 years jail mandatory in case of honor killings even if the murderer has been pardoned by other close family members.

About the Anti-Rape Bill, he stated that a recent study had shown that view in rape cases was a mere 2 per cent which means that 98 percent rapists possibly got scot-free.

This is large because DNA test is not compulsory in rape case under the existing law.

The law passed today still makes DNA test mandatory in research as part of the procedure. Through another modification, enhanced punishment has been provided for rape in police stations and rape of minors and mentally handicapped.

The new legislation also erases from Qanun e Shahadat the facility relating to questioning the character of the victim of rape.

Thus sex workers also get the safety of the law against rape. The identity of a rape victim will also be secure under the legislation passed today.

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