Pakistan's apex court hauls up officers in rape trial
Live Punjab News Service
Islamabad -- Even as the Pakistan government and lawmakers are dithering over the Hudood Ordinance, widely perceived as weighed against women, the Supreme Court has reopened a rape trial and penalised senior police officers for poor investigation.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the attorney general to assist the court on the matter relating to the case of Nazia Bibi, a 13-year-old girl, who was repeatedly raped and kept in captivity where she delivered a child, The News International reported Wednesday.
Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the two-judge Bench adjourned the hearing of the trial of the accused for the first week of next month.
According to the details of the case, accused Zahoor Ahmed and Gulshan bibi had kidnapped the girl on June 23 last year and kept her forcibly confined at various places. Ahmed raped her for months before being arrested from Okara on Aug 29 this year.
The Bench heard the case and expressed "complete dissatisfaction" over the performance of the police team involved in dealing with the case of "Zina Bil Jabr" under the Hudood Ordinance 1979, the newspaper reported.
The court has taken a proactive stance even as the National Assembly last month failed to even introduce "Women's Protection Bill, 2006", a watered down version of what President Pervez Musharraf had intended in July.
Sought to be introduced twice, though half-heartedly by the government, the bill was opposed by the Islamist hardliners.
Islamists and conservative opponents of the legislation say that the Hudood Ordinances, promulgated in 1979 by the then president Zia-ul-Haq as part of his drive to "Islamise" Pakistan, are based on the Quran and Hadith, having divine sanction, and cannot be amended by an assembly of humans.
The apex court directed Punjab's chief secretary and inspector general police to take "strict action" against the police team for their negligence and send the matter of two superintendents of police (SP) involved in the investigation of the case to the Establishment Division for further action.
The bench in its order said police officers Inam and Ali Arsalan (both SPs), who did not handle the case properly, would be sent back to the Establishment Division for further action.
"The chief secretary will pursue the case and both the officers will be discharged from their duty and not given any other field duty," the court said.
The bench directed the inspector general of police of Punjab to depute a new team of officers for the investigation of this case terming it an extraordinary case and challenge for the police force.
The bench also discussed the implications of the case in detail and issued notice to the attorney general to assist the court on the said matter, the report said.