Zainab murder case: Legal experts say DNA is admissible evidence

ISLAMABAD: Just a day before the expiry of the Supreme Court’s three-day deadline, the Punjab Police on Tuesday arrested the man, who allegedly abducted, raped and murdered an eight-year-old child in Kasur.

While the Punjab government rejoiced at the victory, apprehensions grew over whether the alleged suspect Imran Ali was truly the perpetrator of the heinous crime that shook the nation. Legal experts have said that DNA is admissible evidence, especially in criminal cases, and that each case is dealt differently depending on its nature.

A Supreme Court judge in a case observed that it never ruled that DNA report is not admissible evidence.

Advocate Tariq Mahmood who appeared in a murder case before the three-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa told The Express Tribune that Justice Khosa noted that SC never ruled that DNA report is not admissible as every criminal case has different dimensions

Mahmood said that the bench was referring Daily English news which may have misinterpreted 2016 judgment on DNA.

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The dimensions of each case are largely different than the other, and it cannot be argued that DNA is inadmissible in court of law.

Advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain told The Express Tribune, “There is a judgment of Peshawar High Court (PHC) which directed the police to conduct DNA in every case.”

In a recent verdict, PHC had ordered the police to conduct DNA tests in every case to ensure that the suspect is the culprit. A single-member bench of PHC, in December, ruled that it is mandatory to conduct DNA tests on both the suspected rapist and his alleged victim in sexual assault cases.

Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani ruled that under Section 164-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was made into law through the Criminal Law Act 2016 (Amendment) dictates that samples of DNA of both should be collected and sent for examination at the earliest.

The bench ruled that Section 164-B CrPC related to conducting of DNA tests shall be applicable to offenses under Section 376 (Punishment for Rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Legal experts also state that multiple cases have been investigated wherein DNA report has been considered as evidence. Karachi-based lawyer Faisal Siddiqui told The Express Tribune that the 2013 rape case against Salman Raja (PLD 2014 SC) made DNA primary source of evidence.

However, Sidiqqui believes that “conviction cannot solely be based on DNA. There must be corroborated by other oral and other evidences as well.”

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Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf tells The Express Tribune, “The Punjab Forensic Science Agency was established under the law which provides that experts performing a function in the said agency are deem to be experts themselves and their DNA reports will be admissible without calling the experts in witness box, says a senior law officer.”

Statement comes a day after Punjab CM announced that the prime suspect in the case had been caught

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