SC upholds death sentence of convicted in rape, murder charges Vehari’s 8-year old Rimsha Bibi had gone for tuition in June 2016 when she was murdered after rape

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Zubair Qureshi

Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has dismissed an appeal filed by a man convicted to death for rape and murder of an 8-year old girl in Punjab’s southern district Vehari. A three-member bench of the SC upheld the death sentence which was awarded to the petitioner (convicted in rape and murder case) Ali Haider alias Pappu by the trial court.

The verdict is authored by Justice Syed Mansur Ali Shah while the other two judges are Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik. According to the apex court’s decision, “The prosecution has proved its case against the petitioner beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, we are not persuaded to espouse a view different from that given by the trial court and confirmed by the High Court as to the convictions and sentences of the petitioner”

In the court’s own words, in this June 2016’s “troubling and gut-wrenching” case of rape and murder an eight-year old Rimsha Bibi left her house for summer tuition in the neighbourhood but went missing and initially, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against an unidentified person.

However, in the supplementary statement recorded next day, two witnesses Jabbar Hussain and Tufail Shah revealed that they had seen the accused Ali Haider coming out of a “jawar” (sorghum) field from where the dead body of the girl was recovered.

According to the witnesses Pappu was tightening the string of his shalwar (trousers) while coming out of the field. The petitioner was arrested, indicted and sentenced to death by the trial court. In due course of time the Lahore High Court also maintained the convictions and sentences of the petitioner.

“We have examined the record of the case and according to the post-mortem report, the vaginal swabs of the deceased as well as the swabs obtained from the neck of the deceased matched DNA found in those swabs with that of the petitioner,” said the judgment.
In the detailed judgment, the court has highlighted the significance of the DNA test as an effective means and tool to help prosecution/investigative officers reach the criminals.
The court ruled that the government should stop accepting any official forensic report and that only DNA reports should be used as admissible evidence in rape and murder cases.
According to the verdict, the most significant advancement in criminal investigation since the advent of fingerprint identification is the use of DNA technology.

DNA analyses on saliva, skin tissue, blood, hair, and semen can now be reliably used to link criminals to crimes.

Increasingly accepted during the past ten years, DNA technology is now widely used in many jurisdictions by police, prosecutors, defence counsel and courts. The court has also directed the government should amend section 510 of the Criminal Law relating to chemical inspection.