CII Decision on DNA Evidence

29 May

To whom this may concern,

I write to you today in my capacity as female citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in disagreement and disgust over your decision regarding DNA Evidence in rape cases. Being part and parcel of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, one would expect that the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) would understand the position of women in our country, today. We live in a society where women are legally and socially oppressed. This is not only in contravention of our basic human right not to be discriminated against on the basis of our gender but this also impedes on basic Islamic principles. Women in Pakistan are the victims of domestic abuse, acid attacks, sexual harassment, rape and other heinous crimes. Regardless of this well-known fact, the CII has decided that women need not be protected via the inclusion of DNA evidence as primary evidence in cases of rape. Such a decision screams injustice and misinterpretation of Islam.

DNA evidence is the only certain means by which a woman can prove she was raped. It may have been the case hundreds of years ago that 4 male witnesses happened to be present in case of such a crime, but this is not so in the status quo. Islam requires us to keep ourselves updated with modern-day needs and technologies. By stating that DNA evidence cannot be considered primary evidence, I feel the CII has inadvertently displayed their ignorance of the law of evidence, and how it functions in various jurisdictions. DNA evidence is primary evidence which is admissible in court in the United Kingdom, and seeing as how most of our law flows from that model; it seems strange that the CII failed to recognize this fact. Moreover, it is important to understand the significance of DNA evidence in protecting all parties involved. There was a case in Colorado in 1996, where a man was sentenced to life imprisonment over the murder of a teenage girl. It was due to fresh DNA evidence that was permitted in court that the man’s innocence was proven. In using this example, I hope you understand that DNA evidence is both beneficial for the victim claiming she has been raped as well as a possibly innocent accused. DNA evidence is being utilized in several jurisdictions around the world as it is an efficient means of exonerating the accused (where the accused is innocent) and convicting the accused (where the accused is guilty). The fact remains that the only exception to the rule that no two people can have the same DNA is where a case of identical twins is concerned. Therefore, DNA has a high value in criminal cases as it is considered extremely reliable.

 A woman in Pakistan, currently, cannot come forth with a charge of rape against a man for fear of being stoned to death, publicly labelled an adulterer or other such nonsense. Women are the victims of the crime of rape and cannot be treated as the perpetrators. If we wish to develop as a society, based on Islamic principles, protection of women must be ensured. A woman cannot in this day and age be expected to have four male witnesses when she is being raped. Therefore, the inclusion of DNA evidence in rape cases is a prerequisite for justice to prevail and crimes of violence against women to be significantly reduced. It is on this basis that I urge you to reconsider your decision.

 

Regards,

Imaan Hazir Mazari

Islamabad, Pakistan

 

 

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6 Responses to “CII Decision on DNA Evidence”

  1. Fawad Sarwar May 30, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    I don’t think there is need of being emotional. Any opinion should be made after getting the full information of the basis according to which they have negated its usefulness.

  2. Jarri Najam May 30, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Islamic Law does not require 4 witnesses for rape, despite what the council might say. They are confusing adultery and rape. 4 witnesses are required only to prove zina (adultery) where two parties consent to the unlawful act. The concept behind it is that Allah wants sins like Zina, which are even more harmful to the fabric of society when publicized, stay hidden. If someone accuses a man and/or woman of adultery, the onus is on that person to bring forth 4 witnesses. It is unlikely that anyone would be able to do so, hence the adulterers who might be regretful over their act and otherwise decent people, would be able to survive punishment and repent. The only way they are likely to be punished is if they admit the sin themselves; Islam actually discourages this.

    Rape is different. It is similar in nature to other heinous crimes like murder which are to be judged and punished on the basis of any evidence that can be brought forth because it is not a consensual act, rather a forceful violation of what is most precious to a woman. Allah does not want that the rapist be hidden from society as punishment for those who ‘spread mischief in the land’, which a serial rapist most certainly does, is very severe. Such people could be exiled or even executed. A woman can bring forth any evidence to prove that she was violated and DNA evidence is certainly admissible.

    This is a classic example of misinterpretation of Islam by so called religious scholars.

  3. dtmalik May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I fully endorse your statements and demand Imaan but who will let the Ulmaas know what is DNA?

    *Dr.Tassawar H. **Malik* Consultant (Cotton) Islamabad

    • Mubeen Ullah June 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Sir, Ulamas are well aware of what DNA is, that is why it is not rejected at once and is still admissible as secondary evidence, because DNA is only proof of sexual intercourse and not rape.

  4. Ali June 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    “A woman cannot in this day and age be expected to have four male witnesses when she is being raped.” Well said , misinterpretation of religion is the biggest problem of our country and our society, if they could only let people with real knowledge address these issues, generally speaking muslims nowadays around the world drink harm (liquior) and ask for halal meat shops and when it comes to issues of sensitivity they are incompetent to make judgements.

  5. Mubeen Ullah June 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Its not just about DNA reports, we need serious reforms in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) regarding “rape laws”. Few possible solutions are:

    1- It is necessary that an offence of sexual violence is created which does not involve sexual intercourse as an essential element. That is the only way to delink this offence from zina and qadhf and bring it under the doctrine of siyasah. This offence will, thus, become a sub-category of violence, not zina.

    2-The government using its authority under the doctrine of siyasah shar`iyyah may bring sex crimes involving the threat or use of violence under one heading and, then, further categorize it in view of the intensity and gravity of the crime. It may also prescribe proper punishments for various categories of the crime. Being a siyasah crime, it will not require the standard proof prescribed by the Noble Shari`ah for the hadd of zina or other hudud. Rather, the court may decide the case on the basis of the available forms of evidence, including forensic and medical reports as well as the testimony on women and non-Muslims. Indirect and circumstantial evidence may also be deemed admissible if it satisfies the court. In extreme cases, the court may award death punishment which can be commuted or pardoned only by the government, not by the victim or her legal heirs.

    3- The crime of sexual violence so defined may also include violence against men and, thus, it will be gender-neutral.

    4- Zina has to be kept separately from the crime of sexual violence and its subcategories because it is a hadd offence, but it must be correlated with the offence of qadhf and the law of qadhf must be made more effective by removing the exceptions of good faith and public good which have no justification in the Noble Shari`ah.

    I suggest these solution as being a student of Shariah Law.

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