Sunday, January 9, 2011

What about this Kind of Rape?

January 8, 2011

What about this Kind of Rape?

BY Saeed Qureshi

The GEO television channel has reported today in its news bulletins that a class six girl student was raped by the guard of the school in Shahdara city near the Punjab province capital Lahore. The news is devastating for all the parents across Pakistan and even beyond that.

I therefore, dare put this question to the Islamic jurists and the religious scholars what Islamic Sharia law stipulates in the rape cases pertaining to the underage girls. Has this poor girl that has not yet reached the age of puberty and is still an adolescent also to produce four witnesses to prove the heinous and unforgivable crime committed on her?

Countless women and girls are molested in Pakistan yet very few cases come into the public limelight as the victims or their family members cannot sustain the calumny that goes along reporting such odious incidents. Even if some odd case is registered, the ordinary courts may hear the case and even award punishment to the culprit. The case is then referred by the lawyers of the convict to the Sharia Court and from there he walks out as a free man for want of the four witnesses.

There are also very rigid conditions for the witnesses. These four witnesses must be devout Muslims and certify on oath the occurrence of the crime before their eyes with complete penetration. Is it humanly impossible to produce such evidence? What If there is no one around to see the occurrence of the crime?

That is why in Islamic societies, no convict, perpetrator or sex offender has ever been punished, or given the mandatory 100 strokes of a rod or confinement in house until death. Although the penalty sounds condign yet it has never been inflicted or carried out because of the non compliance of the four witnesses pre-condition that is nothing short of asking for the moon.

Islam ordains the purity and piety of mind and body. The women in Islam are obligated by Sharia to conceal and cover their bodies, except their eyes or hands, with proper dress. Such is the strict restriction for the females in Islam. On the other hand which looks like a contrast, if a man who certainly possesses much more physical strength to overpower a bodily tender woman, commits adultery or rape, the burden of proving such crime falls on the weak woman.

How come, a woman can produce four witnesses by any stretch of imagination? Even if by a sheer miracle she is able to do so the element of shame, social disgrace, or the ordeals in courts and humiliation in police stations forbid her or her kith to go for the legal proceedings.

As such the exercise of getting a rapist punished is self defeating and a mere wild goose chase that is more in the nature of breach or non compliance than getting the justice. There has been theological debate, reflections, continuous investigation and deliberations by the Islamic jurists and theologians since the age of Mutazillas, murjites to four schools of Islamic jurisprudence to fix the Islamic law concerning rape and adultery.

The unanswered questions on this most intriguing human and social issue still boggle the minds of the Muslim faithful and the scholars. There is no alternate option except to heap the burden of adultery (zina) on the women. As to fulfill the condition of four witnesses is impossibility, women are invariably charged for having committed the crime.

As a result, innumerable women are languishing in Pakistani jails because of this most glaring miscarriage of justice. Is it not a travesty of justice and appalling and irrational interpretation of law that patently gives a way-out and escape to the perpetrators instead of the weak and defenseless victims?

Do not these doctrinal dilemmas, urge and impel the Islamic scholars to invoke the Sharia injunction of Ijtehad (resolving of legal problems through exertion to meet the imperative of Islamic justice)? Would it not be in accordance with the permissible Islamic tradition of Ijtehad if the condition of four witnesses is waived or replaced with some more rational and practicable option, in order to meet the demands of justice? Thus it would ensure justice to the victim and the punishment to the executor of such atrocious crimes.

Coming back to the distressing and diabolic incident of Shahdara girl, one has still to watch how the legal authorities deal with this case and what can be the outcome of this diabolic happening that will haunt the parents and siblings of the victim and even her for the rest of their lives. Is it not the foremost responsibility of the society and the government to provide protection to the girls and boys from the outreach and clutches of the sex maniacs that are present with lustful eyes in every lane and street of Pakistan?

My apprehension is that while this single case somehow has come in the public view, how many innocent girls would not have the courage to reveal the similar incidents. There have been reports of molestation and rape even in religious residential schools and even by the religious imams and teachers of Arabic. Such reports circulate in the community but are suppressed because of the pernicious social fallout if laid bare. The religious teachings, the social taboos or barriers seldom restrain the rapists and child molesters to spare the children from their loathsome crimes.

It is very important for all the families and parents to exercise utmost caution in sending their children to a school alone, or to the religious seminary for reciting or learning Arabic or to the house of a neighbor or to the shopping centers or in the company of friends. Please never trust your closet friend, even a woman if she is not a member of the family or a very near blood relation.

In the face of the silent or evasive Sharia law and even the manipulative civil or secular laws for punishing the sex offenders, it would be decidedly preferable not to leave your adolescent child or ward both boys and girls in the company of a stranger, a neighbor, a visitor or a distant relative. In this world where crime thrives and repeated every moment, such trust is most ruinous and results in the defilement of the innocent, helpless and speechless children.

This is the only way to safeguards the sanctity, honor, celibacy and chastity of your offspring who once fallen victim to such wickedness by the prying rapists and wicked sex offenders, suffer from an, inerasable agony and unforgettable anguish for their entire life.

The writer is a Dallas-based journalist and a former diplomat. Email: qureshisa2003@
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1 comment:

  1. Every legal system in the world whether Sharia or International laws has loop holes and can be abused and miss-used. Many International countries like Britain now running under dual system: International (Western) Laws and Sharia Laws (Islamic).

    Corrupt politicians are everywhere - there are many rape cases in western societies also. Western Societies like United States is suffering even more rape cases on daily basis, even in Churches than any Muslim countries. Mr. Saeed please do not blame Islamic or Sharia Law. Blame the Justice System of that country who are implementing and running the justice system of that country.

    Same International Justice System that Mr. Saeed thinks that support Human Rights, in the same system many rape defenders have been framed. Hundreds are sitting and stuck in the Legal systems who have not even committed the rape crime. Human rights and justice system has been abused and neglected here in Western Societies as well, but in different way and on different gender. You can grab your nose directly from the front or by taking your hand around your head – it is same no difference. In any Laws Systems whether Western or Sharia there are loop holes to be abused either by the Qazi in Sharia Laws or by Judges of the Western Laws. Please do not bring ISLAM and Shria Law in the middle. Human rights has been abused and neglected by any Justice System. It is all the game of power and wealth.

    In Pakistan there are corrupt politicians sitting from the top to bottom. Politician who are implementing Shria trial courts Law none of the Qazi are qualified, sane, un-convicted of slander, or has proper education in neither Islamic science, nor their performance are truly congruent with Sharia interpretation. Most of the Qazi are puppet of the ruling and governing parties – you throw money in front of them you will get human rights and justice. Same thing is here you show money and power you will get human rights and justice. Come on Mr. Saeed what world you’re living in La La Land?

    Pakistan has long been considered semi-democratic and is currently under the rule of a federal parliamentary system with a popularly elected Prime Minister. The Constitution is the law of the land, and though women are still discriminated against, but still they have many more rights than in other Muslim nations.

    In 2009, peace deals between President Zardari and the Taliban created what many have called a Sharia mini-state in a region of north Pakistan called the Malakind. The move was prompted by the Pakistani military’s continued loss against the Swat Taliban and fears that the Taliban would renew violence if Sharia law were not signed into effect. However, the Malakind Accord has many people – including the President himself – fearful that Pakistan will soon fall under the power of Islamist groups, emboldened by this recent success at bringing Sharia back to the land.

    Nations like Pakistan that are under threat of being forced to return to Sharia law are one of the major problems facing the international legal sphere: though the nation is or can be modernized, political sentiments are shifting away from modernization or integration with Western legal systems, leading to a potential increase in human rights violations.

    In my opinion this situation is purposely created to use as a tool to de-stabilized Pakistan to create un-rest and turmoil for the purpose of dismantling Pakistan Atomic Power Plant.