A sessions court sentenced a man to ten years in prison for raping his young cousin in Karachi’s Lyari district. It observed that an out-of-court settlement had no legal validity in rape cases.
The man identified as Zain was sentenced to ten years in jail for raping his cousin when the victim was just five years old in March 2020. Zain was within the jurisdiction of the Kalri police station. At a Jirga, the culprit confessed to the crime but was pardoned by the victim’s father.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) referred the case back to the trial court in December 2022, with an instruction to consider it again after recording the statement of the victim, who was unable to give her testimony owing to her age and trauma. The prosecution witnesses, including the victim’s father, aunt, and other relatives, supported the prosecution’s narrative.
Zain withdrew his confessional testimony, claiming that it was obtained under torture, and alleged that he was framed owing to a property dispute. The victim’s father claimed that he had pardoned Zain in a Jirga at the insistence of his relatives and Zain’s family had confessed that he was guilty.
The Legal Aid Society’s advocate, Behzad Akbar Gabol, and senior counsel Basam Ali Dahri argued that because of the out-of-court settlement, the victim’s family was hesitant to testify or present the victim before the court, but their witness statements, along with the medical evidence, led to Zain’s conviction.
In recent developments, Additional Sessions Judge (South) Ashraf Hussain Khowaja condemned the accused of sexual assault and sentenced him to ten years in jail with a Rs. 100,000 fine. The judge noted that because rape was a non-compoundable violation, the plaintiff’s forgiveness had no legal consequence.