ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for chemical castration and death penalty for convicted rapists during a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday, the information minister said, instructing the law ministry to draft an ordinance within a week to curb violent sexual crimes that mostly target women and children.
“The federal cabinet has approved in principle the rape law … we want it to be a specific and clear law without any loopholes,” Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said while briefing the media on Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance and Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, after the cabinet meeting.
The prime minister first advocated the use of chemical castration in September following the gang rape of a mother in front of her children on a major highway in Punjab province.
Faraz said the prime minister was disturbed by a recent incident in Sindh where a mother and her young daughter were raped by a group of men who lured the woman on the pretext of giving her a job.
“The number of rape cases is increasing,” he admitted, hoping that the provisions of the proposed ordinance would act as an effective deterrent and prevent such incidents in the future.
If Pakistan legalizes chemical castration of rapists, it will join a small group of nations that allow such punishment, including Indonesia, Poland, Russia and Estonia, as well as some states in the United States.
Legal experts and rights activists previously told Arab News that harsh punishments were not likely to halt the rising tide of sexual violence in the country and the government needed to tackle a culture of misogyny.
Pakistan already has severe sentences for rape though they are seldom implemented: 10-25 years in prison for rape and life imprisonment or death for gang rape.
Sarah Zaman, a director at War Against Rape, a non-government organization based in Karachi, said rape was rampant in Pakistan due to systematic flaws to hold culprits accountable.
“Instead of increasing the punishments, we need to defeat the culture that encourages such crimes,” she said.
Zaman also urged the government to strengthen the criminal justice system to increase the conviction rate in rape cases from the current four percent and to ensure “timely justice.”