Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved, in principle, a law for the chemical castration of rapists.
The decision was made during a federal cabinet meeting wherein the law ministry presented a draft of the anti-rape ordinance. The draft includes increasing women’s role in policing, fast-tracking rape cases and witness protection.
Stressing that this was a serious matter, PM Imran Khan said no delay will be tolerated. “We need to ensure a safe environment for our citizens.”
The premier said the legislation will be clear and transparent with strict enforcement. He said the rape survivors will be able to register complaints without fear, adding that the government will protect their identity.
Sources said some federal ministers also recommended public hanging for the rape convicts. But the premier said castration will be a start.
The federal cabinet has, in principle, approved strict severe punishment for rape convicts.
Addressing a post-cabinet press briefing, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said after giving in-principle approval to the anti-rape ordinance, the cabinet asked the Law Division and other departments concerned to finalise the draft at the earliest by removing all legal lacunae that could be exploited by offenders.
He said PM Imran Khan, after noting with grave concern the recent rape incident of a mother and her daughter in Sindh, asked Law Minister Farogh Naseem to prepare a comprehensive ordinance, encompassing fast-track trial of the accused, a comprehensive definition of rape, inclusion of new offences and strict punishments for the convicted rapists.
The minister said as the ordinance is of great importance and involves punitive actions against the rapists, it was forwarded to the Law Division for further improvement.
He expressed the hope that the initiative would significantly reduce the number of rape incidents in the country by creating effective deterrence against the offence in the society.
Meanwhile, PTI senator Faisal Javed Khan said the law will soon be presented before the Parliament.
Two critical ordinances were approved by the cabinet today to deal holistically with the menace of rape and child abuse under which necessary amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code will be introduced.
The two approved bills included "The Anti-Rape (Investigation & Trial) Ordinance 2020 and the Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said.
She said the Cabinet Committee for the disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) would finalise the ordinances and they should become operational in the next few days.
The minister said the bills included an expansive definition of rape, establishment of special courts, anti-rape crisis cells, protection of victims and witnesses, prohibition of the "two-finger" test, etc.
These Ordinances were badly needed, she added.
There has been much debate around rape laws in Pakistan. The incident of Kasur's Zainab and more recently the motorway gang-rape in Lahore sparked a debate on the severity of punishment to prevent sexual assaults.
Speaking at a joint sitting of the Parliament after a passage of bills pertaining to the FATF, PM Imran Khan had said that the government will soon introduce three-tier legislation including registration of sex offenders, exemplary punishment for rape and child abuse and effective policing.
In an interview, PM Imran Khan had suggested public hanging and chemically castrating the convicts to curb rising sexual violence in the country.