PHC rejects bail of alleged rapist

Humayun Khan
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) has turned down bail petition of an accused arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a female relative at gun point in Swat around two months ago.
A single-member bench comprising of Justice Mohammad Ijaz Khan observed that petitioner, Mohammad Imran, had directly been charged by the complainant. PHC observed that the complainant happened to be aunt (his paternal uncle’s wife) and thus the possibility of false implication in such like cases was a remote possibility, especially when the accused and the complaint were close relatives.
Section 376 (rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code, under which the accused was charged carried a maximum punishment of death or life imprisonment, therefore, the same fell within the prohibitory clause of section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and thus he was not entitled to the concession of bail. PHC ordered that as challan (charge sheet) had been put in court, therefore, the trial court should conclude the trial within a period of four months.
The FIR was registered at Matta Police Station on Dec 23, 2022, under different provisions of the PPC and Arms Act. The complainant had stated that she was married to the uncle of the accused on July 10, 2021, and her husband had gone to Qatar after two months of the marriage for labor work. She claimed that on the night of Oct 24, 2022, the accused knocked at her residence and when she opened the door the accused aimed a pistol at her and sexually assaulted her. She said that she had informed her mother-in-law and a sister-in-law about the incident but as they had no male family members at home, they remained silent.
However, she alleged that a few days later the accused threatened her that she would be again subjected sexual assault, after which she informed her husband on phone. The complainant stated that she had remained silent because of her honour, but now as the accused had been threatening her, she had approached the police. She claimed that her life had become miserable and she was even thinking of committing suicide.
The petitioner’s counsel stated that his client was falsely implicated in the case and there was no eyewitness of the occurrence. He contended that the FIR was registered after around two months, which made the prosecution case doubtful. Assistant advocate general, Sohail Sultan, and complainant’s counsel Hamza Nawab contended that delay in reporting such offences was natural and woman normally could not tell the situation forthwith due to honour and respect and even due to fear.
Earlier, the bail petition of the accused was also rejected by an additional district and sessions judge in Swat on Feb 9. The judge had ruled that the allegations being extremely brutal, degrading and inhuman in nature, tending to tear apart the very fabric of society, required more cautious dispensation.