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May 20, 2020

ATC sentences man to life in jail for raping 12-year-old

Karachi

May 20, 2020

An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday sentenced a man to life imprisonment for subjecting a 12-year-old girl to gang rape with two other men five years ago.

ATC-X judge Abdullah Channa also ordered the convict, Sharif, to pay a fine of Rs200,000 to the victim. In case of default on the payment of the fine, the convict will undergo imprisonment for one more year.

On August 29, 2015, the girl was abducted by three men -- Noor Ahmed, Arif and Sharif -- when she left her house in the morning to buy groceries from a shop in Memon Goth in Karachi. The three took her to a place owned by Sharif’s mother, Shabbo, intoxicated her and then subjected her to sexual assault one by one. Later, they dumped her near her house in an unconscious state. Ahmed had been convicted before, and after his arrest in October 2018 Sharif was tried for the offence, while Arif and Shabbo remain absconding.

The judge in his verdict noted that during her appearance in the witness box for the second time, the victim started crying and shouted various segments of the incident. He added that her condition changed in the witness box and she was in the post-traumatic stress disorder, which was very natural, as she had been the victim of a ruthless act five years ago and she had seen the accused for the second time (first when during an identification parade before a judicial magistrate).

The judge observed that looking at the evidence of the minor victim and her confidence in the court in the presence of the accused strongly endorsed her truthfulness. Also, he said, all material aspects of the incident find strong corroboration and reliable evidence, particularly that first Arif raped the girl, then Sharif took turn and then Ahmed raped the victim with the aid of Shabbo.

Citing the defence made on the basis of lack of DNA evidence, the judge said the investigation officer’s failure to properly transmit samples for profile generation or the seminal report does not much help the accused in the face of clinical findings that suggested carnal assault on the girl. He added that there was no space to entertain any hypothesis of the accused’s innocence.

He said, “Unfortunately, we are living in an age where the sexual lust of persons like [all the accused] has gone to an extent which has made even small and young babies vulnerable to such assaults. Though courts are not reformists, still a heavy duty lies on the courts to award exemplary punishments in proved cases of sexual violence to make it a bad bargain for the likeminded philanderers.”

Before pronouncing the judgment, the judge said the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the accused trough cogent and reliable evidence. “The victim herself in quite a natural and straightforward manner pointed her finger towards the accused being the perpetrator of the offence,” he said, referring to a judgment of the Supreme Court (PLD 1991 SC 412) which stated that a sole testimony is enough for conviction in case it transpires confidence.

“It is a tradition of our society to conceal such offences as it is difficult to approach the police station, taking the minor girl in lap smeared with blood with the allegations of rape committed by somebody to take the stigma forever not only for the family but also damaging the future of the girl. The ocular amount stands supported with the medical evidence,” he said.