Friday September 24, 2021

Maha suicide case: Court orders indictment of ex-boyfriend, friend for raping victim

August 03, 2021

KARACHI: A sessions court on Monday fixed August 9 for framing charges against four suspects in a case where a young female doctor was raped, eventually leading her to commit suicide.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge South, Ashraf Hussain Khawaja, ordered the investigation officer to collect Buccal Swabs (cheek swab) of two accused Junaid Khan and Waqas Hasan for cross matching with the DNA of the victim, Dr Maha Ali Shah. Dr Maha had committed suicide by shooting herself with a 9mm pistol in her house in Defence Housing Authority on August 18, 2020. The police investigation established that the victim suffered from sexual harassment and drug abuse.

According to the charge sheet, her ex-boyfriend Khan and his friend Hasan raped her, distorted and removed the evidence to save themselves. Meanwhile, two other suspects, Saad Nasir and Tabish Yasin, illegally provided a weapon to her. At the outset of the hearing, the court dismissed an application filed by Khan and Hasan. Pleading innocence, they had requested the court to drop the rape charges. Challenging the investigation, their attorney argued that the prosecution had no evidence against his clients for commission of rape and no samples were taken from them, therefore, they should be exonerated from the case. On the other hand, the prosecutor opposed the plea arguing that Khan was the main accused who had physical relationship with the victim and both the accused had fled when their bail applications were dismissed. Khan also thrashed Dr Shah, breaking one of her teeth a few days before her death. He said that the victim’s DNA was preserved and the accused should be directed to provide their DNA samples for cross matching.

Pronouncing the decision, the judge observed that it appeared that the accused had refused to give their samples for the DNA test despite being summoned by the IO a number of times. The charge sheet, he added, alleges that Khan had met the victim a day before death and semen stains were found on her pelvic area and scrub pants which needed to be cross checked to ascertain the allegations of rape. Citing a couple of rulings of the Supreme Court, the judge said that the DNA test provided the courts a reliable identity of perpetrators and excludes potential suspects.

The judge announced that charges against Khan and Hasan would include Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code, and ordered “[Therefore] the instant application is dismissed [and] let the charge be framed.” He directed the investigation officer “to obtain Buccal swabs (cheek swabs) of both the accused for generating their DNA profiles,” he added, “in this regard the consent of the accused is not necessary,” he concluded.