Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Council on Friday repealed a clause in the anti-rape law allowing chemical castration as a possible punishment for convicted rapists, just two days after the country’s parliament enacted the law introducing the sentence, reported reported Voice of America (VOA).
“The Islamic Council of Ideology had opposed the punishment of chemical castration for rapists because it was a non-Islamic practice, so we decided to remove it from the law,” said Maleeka Bukhari, parliamentary secretary Pakistani law enforcement officer, to the press on November 19. Islamabad.
Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Council is “a constitutional advisory body mandated to interpret and ensure that all Pakistani laws conform to Islam,” according to the US government-funded VOA.
“It would have been unconstitutional to pass the law because all laws must be governed by Sharia law. [Islamic law] and the Islamic holy book of the Koran, ”Bukhari noted on Friday according to Sputnik, a Russian public news agency.
“Therefore, we cannot pass any law that goes against these values,” added Bukhari.
Pakistan’s parliament passed an anti-rape bill on November 17 that went into effect immediately. The law had called for the chemical castration of serial rapists, a punishment Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had specifically advocated over the past year. Khan said he hoped to introduce chemical castration as a punishment for rapists in response to the continued increase in rapes of women and children across Pakistan.
The Prime Minister’s remarks came amid a nationwide outcry resulting from the September 2020 assault on a woman, who was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint in front of her children , when his car stalled on the side of the road, ”VOA recalled Friday.
The incident sparked a major uproar from the Pakistani public, who subsequently demanded that Islamabad enforce tougher sentences for sex offenders in order to deter rape. Asked by a reporter about the September 2020 highway rape a week after it took place, Khan said he believed the perpetrators should be hanged in public. He acknowledged that this form of punishment could have endangered a “preferential trade status” granted to Pakistan by the European Union (EU) because of the bloc’s views on human rights. The consideration inspired Khan to consider other penalties for rape, such as chemical castration.
“The way there is first degree murder, second degree, third degree murder, this [rape] should be noted in the same way, and when there is a first degree [rape], castrate them, ”the prime minister told reporters at the time. “Operate them and make them incapable of doing that. “
“In Pakistan, at least 11 cases of rape are reported daily with over 22,000 cases of rape reported to police across the country over the past six years,” Asian News International (ANI) reported on October 18, citing data provided by the Pakistani government.
“Only 77 defendants out of the 22,000 cases have been found guilty and the conviction rate is unfortunately around 0.3%,” the Indian news agency observed.
Pakistan’s new rape law promises to enact a number of reforms designed to deter serious sex crimes. It will ostensibly allow “swift convictions and severe penalties for the perpetrators, including the death penalty,” according to VOA. “The law obliges the government to establish special courts across Pakistan to try rape cases in secret and adjudicate them ‘expeditiously, preferably within four months.’
The law will also establish “a national register of sex offenders” maintained in part by a national database and a registration authority, detailed Friday the US broadcaster. “The identities of victims will be protected and special ‘rape crisis cells’ will be formed to conduct medical examinations of victims within hours of the crime.
Those convicted of “gang rape” face severe penalties such as the death penalty or life imprisonment, according to VOA.