PHC orders religious lessons for 'brothel owner'
03 October, 2012
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan has directed a woman accused of running a brothel to "improve herself" by attending classes at a mosque every day for a month, reports BBC News.
The PHC chief justice made mosque attendance part of her bail conditions. He said she must visit the cleric for a month for "rectification through religious teachings".
Khan issued the order while granting bail to four women accused of running a brothel and an alleged male client. He said the cleric at the mosque must submit a report on the woman's progress once the month has been completed, reports BBC.
The court also asked the police to ensure the cleric provided them a report once the allotted time had elapsed. The defendant's lawyers argued that police had concocted a case against her. They argued that her residence was raided without a proper search warrant and that the police were not able to present any witnesses in court to support their charges.
The report quotes Chief Justice Khan as saying that he regretted that there were so few vocational training facilities for jobless women, forcing them to adopt "illegal means" to earn a living.
BBC's M Ilyas Khan is quoted as saying that the judge may have made his order because there was insufficient evidence – especially a lack of medical evidence – for the judge to send her to prison.
"Chief Justice Khan was apparently unwilling to allow her to walk away scot free and took the decision for her in effect to receive religious counselling," the BBC quotes its correspondent.
The cleric who has been assigned the task of overseeing the court sentences told the BBC that "while he had heard about the order, he had not yet been formally asked to implement it". "It could well be the first time a court has sought the religious reformation of woman accused of prostitution," the BBC's Haroon Rashid said.