Zero-conviction rate for rape: Senator proposes constitutional changes

Published: June 30, 2014
Faulty investigation, public identification of victims targeted. PHOTO: FILE

Faulty investigation, public identification of victims targeted. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Zero. That is the conviction rate for rape cases filed over the last five years in Pakistan, according to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Syeda Sughra Imam. Speaking before the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice, the senator said the dismal statistics led her to move a bill to amend existing laws on the issue.

The committee met under the chairmanship of the PPP’s Senator Kazim Khan for a roundtable discussion with representatives from bar councils. “We will first determine why the conviction rate is zero and whether [it is something inherent] in the laws, the judiciary or the legal procedure itself,” Senator Kazim told The Express Tribune on Sunday.  “In my opinion, the stages of legal procedure, investigation and trial require comprehensive legislation,” said Senator Imam.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) 2013 report, 2,576 cases of rape were registered in Punjab in 2013 – the highest among all provinces. According to official records, 127 cases of rape and three cases of gang-rape were registered in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa last year, whereas 27 cases of gang-rape were reported in Sindh. The conviction rate in cases of sexual and other violence against women remained critically low and on December 13, female senators staged a walkout from the Senate to protest the lack of convictions.

According to a research study by Rutgers World Population Foundation (WPF) in Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Jaffarabad, and Naseerabad districts, 66 per cent of women interviewed said that they had experienced sexual violence, whereas 93 per cent said that they had been subjected to marital rape.

Imam suggests that amendments be made to Article 218A of the Constitution, which deals with defective investigation. As per her proposed amendment, “Whoever being a public servant, entrusted with the investigation of a case, registered under section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code, fails to carry out the investigation properly and in breach of his duties, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

Imam suggested that amending Article 228A of the Constitution, which deals with the disclosure of the rape victim’s identity, would include a new section stating, “Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under Section 376 is alleged or found to have been committed (hereafter in this section referred to as ‘the victim’) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Saleem
    Jun 30, 2014 - 9:41AM

    Proof is in the pudding. If there are no conviction then obviously there is something wrong with the system. And if laws needs to be amended to address the issue then it should be done. That may offend a minority but so be it. Women and weak need to be protected and that is what Islam is, not what these so called Islamic scholars been lately preaching.


  • Imran Ahmed
    Jun 30, 2014 - 11:05AM

    We have five or more systems of “Law”. Law has to be universally applied for there to be justice. Abolish ATC, Sharia Courts, Military Courts, Jirgas and Service Tribunals which work outside PPC, abolish FATA specific legislation. Have one system of law which applies to all citizens, rural or urban, Muslim or Hindu, Civilian or Military, tribal or city dweller, neither a judge or a politician or a general should have the privilege to decide under which law to proceed.


  • John
    Jun 30, 2014 - 11:27AM

    Oh really,thanks for these not so surprising statistics but what did your party do for this in the 5 years it ruled and made money like there is no tomorrow?


  • aun
    Jun 30, 2014 - 3:36PM

    Its because Criminals are Protected by Amnesty International and other Humanitarian “Portrayal” NGOS!!


  • Hari Om
    Jun 30, 2014 - 4:36PM

    Low conviction rate for rape in Pakistan is inevitable when Islam mandated rules of evidence are insisted upon. These Islamic rules of evidence include prohibition on primary use of DNA evidence to indicate rape and need for 4 pious adult male Muslims to witness rape.

    For increase in rape conviction rate, misogynistic Muslim religion mandated laws must thus be repealed.

    Repeal of misogynistic Muslim religion mandated laws is a doubtful proposition in a country that proclaims herself an Islamic Republic, an Ideological Muslim State and is generally obsessed with Islam leading her to view all things with green tinted lenses and at drop of a hat drape herself in a green mantle.

    That leads to the unfortunate conclusion that a low conviction rate for rape in Pakistan will continue to remain the norm making the women of Pakistan bear the brunt of the adverse of consequences of Pakistan’s proclamation of remaining an Islamic Republic, an Ideological Muslim State and being generally so obsessed with Islam so as to lead her to view all things with green tinted lenses and at drop of a hat drape herself in a green mantle.


  • Imran Ahmed
    Jun 30, 2014 - 5:02PM

    It is actually Hudood which makes rape conviction all but impossible. DNA is not accepted as primary evidence and four male eye witnesses are required under it. Even if this is accomplished the complainant faces the intimidation of Qisas & Diyat ordinance.
    Even Indian laws are more effective.


  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    Jun 30, 2014 - 5:40PM

    @Hari Om:
    Another affront to justice is the law that insists that every victim be exposed to intimidation and/or bribery by the culprit. These so caled “Islamic” laws have been drafted by malevolant misogynists not to only hurt women but to malign the benevolent intent of these concepts embedded in religion.


  • unbelievable
    Jun 30, 2014 - 6:25PM

    Ample evidence of a sick mindset where women are treated as chattel – maybe it’s time for the women to unite – they represent half of Pakistan – apparently the better half.


  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 30, 2014 - 8:03PM

    WOW, Please explain just how these “Criminals are protected by Amnesty International and other Humanitarian NGOS”!!!!!
    These “Criminals” don’t appear to be protected by the above mentioned organizations in any other country in the world, so please help all of us understand your (Flawed!) reasoning!!!


  • Adpran
    Jun 30, 2014 - 8:07PM

    @Hari Om:
    The correct rule according to Qur’an is, if someone accuse a woman commit adultery, he/she should be supported by four male witnesses who saw this adultery. The rule of four witnesses cannot be implemented for rape because rape is not adultery that committed because two parties want it, but an act of violence which one party force another party. Of course, DNA evidence can be used for rape, and really used in other Muslim majority countries.

    The Pakistan ‘Islamic’ rule that rape victim should produce four witnesses is wrong, and have been criticized by Muslim scholars outside Pakistan, including Muslim scholars from my country, Indonesia.


  • shah
    Jul 1, 2014 - 12:35AM

    Why can’t rapists be convicted for a similar crime such as assault and bodily harm to the woman ? They should not be allowed to simply go free. Al Capone was convicted in the end with income tax evasion.


  • Sadia
    Jul 1, 2014 - 1:12AM

    One of the perils of modern society is that there is no justice system. There is a legal framework. Whoever has better resources is guaranteed to win the legal battle. Somehow lawmakers should introspect that and enact good framework leaving no room for ambiguity. Rape is a heinous crime. The victim’s mental state is ruined for the rest of the life. Yet inadmissibility of evidences gathered by scientific advances in forensics is laughable, myopic and luddite. Punishment should include chemical castration and forced erectile dysfunction for the men involved.


  • anwar kamal
    Jul 1, 2014 - 4:54PM

    A rapist should be castrated.


  • Mehr
    Jul 2, 2014 - 7:30AM

    Thank you CII.


  • Oct 14, 2014 - 4:16PM

    The main problem in our society is that here is lack of awareness about Human rights and Women rights violations. Even the actual number of cases is more than the registered.
    Secondly the judicial system process is very slow and it takes a lot of time to get justice and mostly these cases happens in poor areas so they can’t afford the legal expenses.


    Sarim Burney Welfare Trust International is providing free of cost legal support to such type of peoples and provide shelter to to victim women.


    If such distressed peoples are your near by then please immediately let us know so that they get help.


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