Man sentenced to 80 lashes for denying child’s paternity

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KARACHI: A sessions court has sentenced a man to 80 lashes for refusing to admit paternity of his child and falsely accusing his ex-wife of adultery.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (Malir) Shehnaz Bohyo convicted Fareed Qadir under Section 7(1) of the Offence of Qazf (Enforcement Of Hadd) Ordinance, 1979 for disowning his legal child and making false accusations against his ex-wife.

The said section of the ordinance reads: `Whoever commits gazf liable to hadd shall be punished with whipping numbering eighty stripes.

The judge wrote in his verdict: `It is crystal clear that the accused is a liar and had fabricated an allegation of Qazf upon the complainant regarding illegitimacy of her daughter… Thus, he is convicted and sentenced to 80 stripes each under section 7(1) of the Qazf Ordinance, 1979.

The court ruled that after the conviction, his evidence shall not be admissible in any court of law following the confirmation of the conviction from the Federal Shariat Court.

`As the accused is sentenced to whipping only… he shall remain on bail, provided that he agrees to appear at the time and place designated by this court for the execution of the punishment of whipping, following the confirmation of the conviction and sentence by the court of appeal, and submits a bail bond in the sum of Rs100,000,` said the verdict.

The convict`s ex-wife had filed a complaint in court and stated that she got married in February 2015 and they lived together for one month. In December 2015, she gave birth to a baby girl. However, her ex-husband failed to provide maintenance or take her back to his home. When she moved a family court the judge rendered a decree in her favor and directed the convict to provide maintenance for his daughter and former wife.

However, the husband submitted two applications in court during the proceedings of the execution application, requesting a DNA test for the baby girl and disowning his daughter. These applications were subsequently withdrawn by the convict. However, the complainant filed an application under Sections 200, 203-B of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) read with Sections 3, 5, 7, and 11 of the Qazf Ordinance, 1979, before the district and sessions court (Malir), seeking legal remedy against her ex-husband for levelling serious allegations against her.

During the trial, the accused denied allegations regarding his ex wife, stating that she had only lived with him for six hours after their marriage and then left the home and never returned.

However, the court noted that the accused neither testified under oath nor produced any witnesses to support his claims, adding that the defence also failed to bring any evidence regarding the accused making an apology or filing applications over a misunderstanding.

The court also highlighted that the accused in his recorded statement under Section 342 of the CrPC admitted that a baby girl was his legitimate daughter.

Prosecutor Saira Bano told Dawn that she did not witness any convictions of flogging under Section 7 of the Qafz Ordinance during her 14 years of service as a lawyer.

She explained that the implementation of the punishment of 80 lashes is subject to confirmation or otherwise by the court of appeal.

She believed that the recent conviction could be the first instance of corporal punishment in many decades.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 8th April 2024.

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