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Friday, May 17, 2024

Cleric ‘Forgiven’ after Raping 12-Year-Old

The rape case in Faisalabad exposes systemic failures in accountability and traditional dispute resolution methods, sparking a high-level police inquiry and public outcry over child safety and justice.

A recent high-level police inquiry into the case of rape of a 12-year-old boy in Tandlianwala, Faisalabad, has brought to light the acquittal of the suspect, Maulana Abubakar Muavia, through the mediation of a ‘Jirga/Panchayat.’ This revelation has sparked concerns over the compatibility of such traditional dispute resolution mechanisms with the Supreme Court’s judgment, which contests their legal status as alternatives to the formal judicial system.

Prompted by the acquittal of the suspect by a magistrate after the father of the boy retracted his statement, the police inquiry aims to challenge this decision in higher courts. The involvement of religious figures in the mediation process has raised questions about the influence of traditional structures on legal proceedings and the need for transparency and accountability in delivering justice.

Following directives from the Inspector General Punjab and the Chief Minister, a reinvestigation into the case was initiated to determine the circumstances leading to the suspect’s discharge and the role played by the ‘Jirga/Panchayat’ in influencing legal outcomes. The reevaluation seeks to uphold the integrity of the judicial process and ensure adherence to constitutional and legal mandates, as underscored by the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Drawing on the Supreme Court’s verdict, which asserts that informal justice systems lack legal authority to adjudicate civil or criminal matters, the police inquiry underscores the imperative to challenge the suspect’s acquittal and hold accountable those involved in facilitating mediation. As the investigation unfolds, the focus shifts towards establishing a legal precedent that upholds the principles of transparency, fairness, and due process.

Social Outcry and Accountability

The incident of rape has triggered widespread outrage on social media, reigniting concerns about child safety and exposing deficiencies in Pakistan’s justice system. Despite initial police action and the arrest of the accused cleric, public scrutiny mounts over the lack of accountability for perpetrators and the failure to conduct a thorough investigation.

Criticism has been directed towards religious scholars involved in the mediation process, with netizens highlighting their role in dismissing the severity of the case and shielding the accused from legal consequences. Activists advocate for independent inquiries and judicial oversight to ensure accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims of abuse, emphasizing the urgent need for reform in child protection laws and criminal justice procedures.

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The case serves as a sobering reminder of the challenges in safeguarding child rights and ensuring accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence, amidst alarming statistics revealing widespread abuse across Pakistan. As calls for justice resonate, the spotlight remains on the authorities to uphold the rule of law and protect the most vulnerable members of society from exploitation and harm.