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Pak court refers woman to Imam for counselling
Publication Date : 02-10-2012
In an unprecedented move, the Peshawar High Court’s chief justice yesterday ordered a woman accused of running a brothel to attend a class of religious teachings conducted by an imam (prayer leader) of a mosque in Hayatabad Township in Peshawar.
The court issued the directive while granting bail to five persons, including four women, allegedly arrested from a brothel.
Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan accepted the bail petitions on the condition of furnishing two sureties of 50,000 rupees (US$526.62) each.
He ordered the alleged supervisor of the brothel to regularly visit the prayer leader (imam) of Al Zarghoni Mosque for a month for reformation through religious teachings.
The chief justice asked the station house officer (SHO) of Hayatabad police station to submit the report of the prayer leader before the court after a month.
Police had raided a house on September 6 and arrested the four women and a man. Police claimed that they had received complaints that a brothel was operating there.
Police alleged that the arrested man was a client and registered an FIR under Section 371A (selling a person for purpose of prostitution) and 371B (buying a person for purpose of prostitution) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
As the offence is punishable by up to 25 years of imprisonment, the bail applications of the accused were dismissed by a subordinate court.
A panel of lawyers appeared for the accused and contended that police had registered a concocted case against them.
They argued no written complaint against the accused had been shown by the police and their medical examination had also not been conducted.
They said raiding a residence without search warrants from a magistrate in such offences was illegal. They added that the police could not present any witness in support of the charges.
The Additional Advocate General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fazlur Rehman, opposed the bail petitions and argued that if the accused were set free they would again indulge in the same practice and the woman who ran the brothel could ruin the lives of other girls.
The bench said it would try to work for her reformation through religious counselling.
The chief justice regretted that so far no survey had been conducted about unemployment among women. He observed that in the past vocational training was imparted to women which helped them earn their livelihood, but now no such arrangement existed, forcing unemployed women to adopt illegal means for earning their livelihood.