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Friday, May 24, 2024

Landmark Conviction: Three-Year Jail Term for Marital Rape in Sindh

Landmark conviction in Sindh as man receives three-year jail term for marital rape, marking the first such case post-amendment to Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code in 2021.

A man has been sentenced to three years in jail for committing marital rape, marking the first such conviction in Sindh following an amendment to Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code in 2021. The accused, named Javed, was found guilty under Section 377 (unnatural offences) for forcing his wife to have non-consensual sex.

The Additional Sessions Judge (South), Ashraf Hussain Khowaja, delivered the verdict after thorough examination of evidence and arguments from both the defense and prosecution. The judge emphasized that the victim’s testimony and medical evidence substantiated the charges, stating, “From perusal of evidence brought at the trial, it appears that the victim has fully established a commission of sodomy with her by the accused being her husband.”

Advocate Bahzad Akbar, representing the complainant, highlighted that the amendment to Section 375 broadened the definition of rape to include marital rape. He argued that the woman’s testimony and medical evidence aligned with the charges, urging the judge to impose a punishment in accordance with the law.

Despite the defense’s attempts to portray the victim as having ulterior motives, the judge noted the lack of evidence supporting the accused’s claims. The convict’s sisters, appearing as defense witnesses, failed to provide substantial information about the alleged paramour mentioned by the accused.

This landmark conviction brings attention to the challenges and legal implications surrounding marital rape in Pakistan. The judiciary’s acknowledgment of marital rape as a punishable offense reflects evolving legal perspectives on consent within marital relationships.

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Advocate Bahzad Akbar, from the Legal Aid Society, underscored the significance of this conviction, stating, “I am not sure about other provinces, but this is certainly the first such conviction over marital rape in Sindh following the amendment.” He emphasized the need for continued advocacy and legal reforms to address marital rape cases across the country.

The legal landscape surrounding marital rape convictions in Pakistan remains relatively unexplored, and this case sets a precedent for future legal proceedings. The FIR lodged under Section 377 at the Chakiwara police station highlights the crucial role of legal mechanisms in addressing cases of non-consensual acts within marital relationships.