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Verdict on Motorway gangrape case

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Recently, an anti-terrorism court pronounced death sentencefor two personswho were earlier accused of gangraping a woman in front of her children on their way toLahore-Sialkot motorway. The verdict seems to be just and well-deserved. These soulless monsters need to be dealt withan iron fist without any mercy or compassion. This is what sets precedent in the society.
Pakistanhas a poor record ofsetting such a precedent. Nothing comes to the mainstream media until it becomes viral and vice-versa. This case has offered some food of thought that should be properly chewed and digested for a healthy life ofthe society. The first and the foremost thing Pakistanneeds to learnfrom the case and the verdictis to support the victim by highlighting the issue. As earlier witnessed, as soon as people knew of the gangrape almost every Pakistani got engaged in condemning the horrible event. Women, men, children, old and young regardless to their ethnicity, creed and social, economic or political status took to social mediaand wrote columns in newspapers in almost every local, regional and national language. This collective work bore the fruit. No movement can fail if it wins public support.
Another precedent the event should have set is toregister FIR as soon as possible when any girl or woman falls victim to suchheinous crime. Registration of rape cases is abysmally low in Pakistan. Owing to societal make-uprape case registration isdiscouraged as victims and the family members are well aware of the cultural and social norms which look downthe rape victim, let alone support her. The victim in the motorwaycase didn’t let the event forgot like hundreds which were never even talked about. She registered FIR, fought for her justice and brought the culpritsbehind the bars.
The institutional cooperation of Punjab Police, Special Branch and SecurityAgencies also highlighted the much-needed collaboration – that is the pre-requisiteto deal the crimes of public safety and security. Pakistan has been criticised recently for not creating afriendly environmentwhere law-enforcement agencies work hand in handto track down a suspect. The collective effort put by Punjab’s Police along with other agencies should stir a debate of police reformsin other provinces which are pending for quite a time.
The verdict is unique of its nature. The rape case has beendealt by finding samples by forensic team. No eye-witness involved as demanded by the Sharia law. The judgement should keep the same tempo going by not allowing the religious laws to be too hard to be amended. Needless to say, justice is important than the process involved. Chemical castration was also discussed and implemented on the rapists, though Islam permit it neither, yet, for a safe and crime-free Pakistan, a couple of hardline rules can be put aside for the collective good of the people along with maintaining international image.
Privacy of the victim is also a step in the right direction. Our conservative society doesn’t work hard to catch and criticise the criminal rather harasses the victim. The rape-tag attached to the victim haunts the poor soul throughout the life. Learning from the case we can set a precedent of not revealing the identity of the victim as victim’s identity doesn’t matterbut what matters the most is thepunishment for perpetrator.Lawsshould be made in this regard.
Last but not the least, the case should also be an eye-opener to our snail-paced judiciary system. It hardly took 6 months from the start of the case to the justice meted out to the criminals. Pakistan is a poorcountry with case disposition history. Hundreds of thousands of cases are pending. One of the reasons why people don’t register FIR against perpetrators is the slow and tedious justice system of Pakistan. However, the magnitude and intensity ofseriousnesswitnessed in the Motorway case should serve a purpose of speedy justice. As justice delayed is justice denied.
At the same time, the verdict is welcome move towards more liberal voices which have in recent past gained attention. In the backdrop of Aurat March the motorway-like cases provide an impetus. The AuratMarch if highlights the issues faced by the majority of the womenfolk in Pakistan without being radical should be encouraged.
Pakistan has the potentiality of dealing with such cases to set precedent.Unfortunately, unwillingness from political elite class, poor institutional administration, red-tapism injudiciary and patriarchal mindset still pose challenges. However, the new generation of Pakistan which seems to be more liberal, active, educated than the earlier one can open a new page in the social and political history of Pakistan by participating in thework of national importance as much as possible.