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Seven Progressive Changes In Laws Related to Rape And Sexual Assault Cases

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There have been some progressive changes in the laws related to rape and sexual assault in Pakistan during the past years due to the efforts of human rights activists and organisations.

The Women’s Action Forum (WAF) has highlighted some of these, including the changes in Section 375 PPC, which separated rape from zina (adultery) and is no longer part of Hudood Ordinance. This change was a result of the Protection of Women (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2006 and Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offense of Rape) Act 2016.

Moreover, impeding investigation is a crime now [Section 166(2) PPC] and the public servants can face imprisonment for three years for such acts.

Meanwhile, there are deadlines for such cases [Section 344(A), CrPC]. Now, cases are to be decided within three months or will be sent to the high court chief justice concerned. The appeals are to be decided in six months and the cases wrapped up in a year’s time.

Furthermore, one cannot reveal the identity of victims [Section 352, CrPC] and trial to be held in-camera at judge’s chamber or in a private place.

And there would also be female supervision of the cases [Section 164A CrPC, Section 161A CrPC]. The investigation officer (IO) will register the FIR in the presence of a female colleague or female family member.

When it comes to DNA in rape cases, it shall be collected from victim with consent [Section 164B CrPC].

Another step favouring the victims is that the sexual history cannot be brought up in the trial, as Section 151(4) Qanun-e-Shahadat (Law of Evidence) 1984 has been removed.

 

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