Until now, police have relied heavily on DNA tests to determine cases of rape. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), however, has declared that DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases.
In a meeting of the council on Wednesday, religious scholars observed that while the tool could aid investigation into rape complaints, it could not be taken as evidence. It could, at best, serve as supplementary evidence but could not supersede the Islamic laws laid out for determining rape complaints.
“It cannot be treated as main evidence but it certainly is a great help in investigations,” said Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, a member of CII present at the meeting chaired by Senator Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani. The Quranic provisions calling for four witnesses would still be required as evidence in such cases, the scholars maintained.
The observation was made in response to queries sent to the council by different courts regarding the status of DNA tests as evidence in rape case. The standard police practice has been to register rape cases only after obtaining DNA test results and presenting the report before the court as the main evidence.
In any legal proceedings, decisions are made on the basis of the main evidence produced. Supplementary evidence, meanwhile, is considered to be circumstantial.
CII has also opposed any amendments to blasphemy law. The scholars observed, however, that the law’s wrong usage must be prevented.
“We agree that the blasphemy law should stay, but its wrong use by anyone, Muslim or Non-Muslim, must not be allowed,” said Ashrafi said. “Islam is a religion of peace and harmony which does not approve of use of force against innocent,” he added.
Taking notice of differences between the Markazi Ruet-e-Hilal Committee (Central Moon-Sighting Committee) and the public and private moon-sighting committees of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, CII decided to call a ‘consultative meeting’.
All stakeholders, including the central and the K-P provincial committees, religious scholars and officials of the ministry for religious affairs would be invited to participate in the meeting that would discuss and debate the origins of the differences over the matter.
“It is certainly not a problem related to religion… rather it is a personal matter. So the meeting would try to sort out problems and create harmony among all moon-sighting committees,” said Ashrafi.
The council also expressed concern at the alleged removal of Islamic content and content pertaining to the ideology of Pakistan from school textbooks in Punjab. The CII directed that the old syllabus, which includes chapters on the ‘glorious past of Muslims’, ideology of Pakistan, the two-nation theory and the life of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), be restored. The council directed its research wing to write to all provinces and demand copies of textbooks for review.
The CII meeting also decided to further study whether cloning humans is Islamic or not. A decision or recommendation is likely to be given at its next meeting in July.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.