April 06, 2013 was a dark day in Pakistan’ judicial history – a Karachi court acquitted three gang rapists as the victim failed to produce four eye witnesses of the crime. The victim, an 18-year old girl from Lodhran was kidnapped from Quaid’ mausoleum during a power breakdown.

The judge reproduced a page in his verdict from Maulana Maududi’ Tafheem-Ul-Quran to make his point on four eye witnesses to support the rape allegation. October 06, 2016 – about about three years after the Karachi court’ judgement, a joint session of parliament’ both houses, passed the land-mark anti-rape law which gives legal cover to collection and use of DNA evidence to prove the rape crime. It amends PPC-1860 and CrPC-1898 (colonial period legacy) and Qanun-i- Shahadat-1984 (Zia’ legacy).

Though belated but Parliament has done its primary task but what about other pillars of the state — are they ready for this change? Whether our poorly managed hospitals and health care units equipped to collect DNA samples, are we doing something to build additional DNA labs, what about issues with safe transportation of DNA samples, is media waging a powerful awareness campaign for future victims to know their rights and what immediate actions they have to take in case of such an unfortunate heinous crime, what a victim should do to preserve the evidence till she reaches a hospital and within how many hours? Making or amending laws may not be sufficient until the mindset at ground gets overhauled.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arab, October 7.