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February 28, 2021

False rape allegations on rise in Sindh

Lahore

February 28, 2021

KARACHI: Expressing deep concern over the misuse of rape laws in Sindh, the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) has observed that in a number of recent rape allegations, investigations revealed those allegations to be false.

In a statement, SCSW Chairperson Nuzhat Shirin said the commission had unfortunately observed that in many cases, allegations of rape were levelled for personal or political motives.

“It is also noted that in a number of horrifying instances in which rape has genuinely occurred, the progress of these cases is often hampered by misleading medical reports, by delays in reporting and testing, or by having the wrong FIR sections applied to them,” read the statement.

Shirin said if the commission monitored six rape cases in one month, if found out that four of them were not genuine, and the remaining two genuine cases were neglected by the relevant authorities.

The commission expressed the fear that anti-rape laws were being increasingly misused. “The gravity of this situation cannot be understated, as the misuse of these laws have a number of particularly harmful effects,” Shirin said.

Explaining those harmful effects, Shirin said false allegations had the potential to lead to wrongful imprisonment of innocent persons, and if that happened, it was a violation of our constitutional liberties and degradation of our criminal justice system.

Secondly, she said, fake allegations of rape had the dangerous impact of diluting the credibility of genuine victims and creating a culture of disbelief in the courts and police departments.

If a culture of disbelief is allowed to grow unchecked, it may well lead to interference with the due process that is properly owed to victims, as it would become particularly difficult for courts and police to distinguish between genuine cases and non-genuine cases, Shirin remarked.

She added that if this trend continued, it could lead to a dangerous pattern of unpunished genuine rape cases, which would make victims more hesitant to come forward with their stories, and give attackers a sense of security and encouragement.