This website uses cookies to improve services, analyse traffic to our site, deliver content and provide tailored ads. By using this site, you agree to this use. See our Cookie Policy.

Types and Disposition of Cases

The most obvious findings of the research are that the bulk of cases (88 percent) heard on appeal by the FSC were Zina Ordinance-related (see Table 1); and that around 60 percent of these were concerned with appeals againstadultery/fornication tazir and rape tazir cases. Conversely, the court heard very few appeals against prohibition or property cases, and in the sample only one case dealing with qazf. Second, the FSC dealt predominantly with tazir crimes. There were only six cases of hadd appeals in the sample.

A very significant and important finding of our analysis is that the FSC accepts or partially accepts an extraordinarily high percentage of the appeals brought before it. An examination of Table 1 discloses that the FSC “upheld fully” only 19 percent of the convictions brought before it and that it acquitted 52 percent of the appellates. By any standard these figures are extraordinary and warrant closer examination and explanation. A logical explanation is that the Hudood Ordinances were new laws and that the courts of original jurisdiction needed to “learn” the laws or to have them interpreted by the superior courts; hence an unusually large number of decisions of the sessions courts were overturned by the FSC. As plausible as this explanation may be, it is belied by the facts that: (a) the rate of acquittal by the FSC was not significantly different in any of the years of the sample, i.e. the session judges had not “learned” from past mistakes; (b) the great bulk of cases that were overturned (around 90 percent) were reversed because of misappreciation of facts, not misinterpretation of law; and (c) the FSC rarely enhanced sentences meted out by the sessions judges (only two cases in the sample). Further even in cases in which it upheld the conviction of the sessions judge, the FSC was more lenient in its sentencing (see Table 2).


Get access to 100+ modules today and learn from expert trainers...


One inescapable conclusion is that the FSC has been less keen to apply the full scope of the Hudood Ordinances than have individual sessions judges, and the net effect of FSC decisions, therefore, has been to moderate substantially the zeal of the sessions judges in enforcing the Hudood statutes. This systemic bias is related to the composition of the FSC, as its membership is drawn primarily from the ranks of “Islamic moderates.” It is also related to the government’s motivation to go slow in the implementation of the Islamization program. Indeed, a convicted Hudood Ordinance offender would be well-advised to appeal conviction, as in over 80 percent of the cases that are appealed the plaint is at least partially accepted, and the mean expected imprisonment of the appellate is reduced by 70 percent.

Because the percentage of acquittals on appeal is so high it is doubly important to note the speed with which cases are disposed by the courts. In fact, one major rationale for the introduction of Islamic legal reforms was to shorten the judicial process. Much to the credit of the FSC the mean time needed for the disposal of cases after they are filed with the court has been reduced from eleven months in 1981 to four months in 1987. Unfortunately, however, the district and sessions courts have not been as successful in expediting the judicial process, and the mean time of disposition of cases after the First Information Report is filed remains around eighteen months. Clearly, justice is not served by such delay, particularly since over one-half of those convicted by sessions judges for Hudood crimes are eventually acquitted by the FSC.

TABLE 1: Disposition of Appeals Against Zina Case Conviction, 1980-84

Implementation of the Hudood Ordinances

Crime

Upheld

Fully

Upheld

Reduced

Sentence

Upheld

Different

Hudood

Upheld

Non-Hudood

Acquit

Remand

N

10(2)

19

(17)*

10

1

0

79

(70)

4

 

113

10(3)

37

(28)

14

26*

0

55

(41)

1

 

133

11

9

(17)

0

6

1

34

(65)

2

 

52

12

3

(18)

1

0

10b

2

(12)

1

 

17

16

1

(2)

3

0

0

49

(89)

2

 

55

18

15

(37)

8

0

8

10

(24)

0

 

41

19

1

(25)

0

0

0

3

(75)

0

 

4

5

0

(0)

0

0

1

0

(0)

3

 

4

15

0

(0)

0

0

0

1

(100)

0

 

1

14

0

(0)

1

0

0

0

(0)

0

 

1

Zina all

85

(20)

37 (9)

33 (8)

20 (5)

233

(55)

13

(3)

421

Non-zina

9

(15)

23 (39)

1 (2)

3 (5)

16

(27)

7 (12)

59

Total

94

(19)

60 (13)

34 (7)

23 (5)

249

(52)

20

(4)

480

SOURCE: Compiled by the author from Kennedy file (1987).

KEY: 10(2) = adultery; 10(3) = rape; 11 = kidnapping; 12 = sodomy; 16 = enticement; 18 = attempted rape; 19 = abetment of zina crime; 5 = adultery liable to hadd; 15 = deceitful marriage; 14 = conspiracy to engage in prostitution.

TABLE 2: Mean Sentences for Zina Crimes, 1980-84

Crime

Jail

(months)

Stripes

(#)

District

Fine

(Rs)

Courts

N

Jail

(months)

Federal

Stripes

(#)

Shariat

Flne

(Rs)

Court

N

10(2)

72.6

18.4

2030

259

60.6

15.0

1580

101

KX3)

143.0

21.9

810

165

132.4

19.7

800

59

11*

450.0

13.6

1870

132

460.9

8.3

1210

30

16

56.4

9.3

940

78

33.6

9.5

150

13

18

65.3

6.9

1440

62

43.1

5.9

390

38

12

104.3

9.6

1820

41

68.5

4.4

1290

17

SOURCE: Compiled by the author from Kennedy file (1987). KEY:   See       Table 1.

* Life imprisonment was coded as 500 months.

 

Source: Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan, Charles Kennedy. Republished with permission.