Pakistan brings in new laws that will see rapists chemically castrated
- President Arif Alvi signed it into law today along with a series of other measures
- Chemical castration involves using medication to reduce testosterone in men
- National sex offenders register will also be made and victims’ identity protected
Pakistan has brought in new laws that will see some rapists chemically castrated following public outcry against sexual violence in the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet approved the legal measure last month, and President Arif Alvi signed it into law on today.
Chemical castration involves using medication to reduce testosterone and has been used for paedophiles in Indonesia since 2016 and child rapists in Poland since 2006.
It comes as part of a series of measures that will be introduced in Pakistan to tackle sexual abuse – including the creation of a national sex offenders register and the protection of victims’ identities.
Pakistan has brought in new laws that will see some rapists chemically castrated following public outcry against sexual violence in the country. Pictured: people protest after the gang rape of a woman in Lahore in September
It follows outcry and protests across the country following the gang-rape of a woman outside the city of Lahore in September which forced the government to promise action.
Two attackers pulled a woman out of her car which had broken down at night on a deserted highway near the city, in eastern Punjab province, and gang-raped her as her terrified children watched. Both men were later arrested.
The woman’s car had ran out of petrol while she was out with her two children. She called for assistance but was dragged from the vehicle and raped by two men as she waited by the side of the road
Protests erupted after the lead investigator Umar Sheikh suggested the woman was to blame for the attack, saying she should have travelled on a busier road during the day and checked her petrol before setting out.
Amnesty International released a message in support of protesters saying: ‘There have been too many victims and too few convictions of perpetrators in a criminal justice system characterised by impunity.’
It comes after outcry and protests across the country following the gang-rape of a woman outside the city of Lahore in September which forced the government to promise action
Some however have criticised the castration measure for being too harsh and argue that officials did not follow the necessary consultation process before approving it.
The government now has 120 days to take the measure to parliament and have it permanently passed into law. Until then the law will remain in force.
As part of the other measures brought in special fast-track courts will hear rape cases and they will have to reach a verdict within four months.
Sexual harassment and violence against women is common in Pakistan, where nearly 1,000 women are killed each year in so-called ‘honor killings’ for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.
Pakistan has witnessed an increase in incidents of rape since 2018, when a serial killer raped and murdered six-year-old Zainab Ansari in the eastern city of Kasur in Punjab province.
The case drew nationwide protests and Imran Ali, 24, was later sentenced to death and hanged in the case.
Prime Minister Imran Khan (pictured) and his cabinet approved the legal measure last month, and President Arif Alvi signed it into law on today
Convicted rapists in Pakistan currently face a sentence of between 10 and 25 years in prison or the death penalty.
For gang-rape, the punishment is the death penalty or life imprisonment.
However, ineffective investigation and prosecution of rape cases are commonplace in the country where sexual and gender-based violence towards women is pervasive.
Many women fear they will be shamed or persecuted by police and others if they come forward.
In recent years, increasingly-vocal and social media-savvy feminists have been challenging the social norms that influence the way rape cases are handled in Pakistan.