Rapists in Pakistan
get ‘relief’, clerics stop
chemical castration


ISLAMABAD: Rapists in Pakistan get ‘relief’ as religious clerics have opposed and forbade the government to implement the punishment of “chemical castration”.  Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari revealed on Friday that a clause providing for “chemical castration” of habitual rapists had been removed from the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the light of objections raised by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s law minister Barrister Farogh Naseem (center) and parliamentary secretary law, Maleeka Bukhari (right), address a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on November 20, 2021.

Flanked by Law Minister Farogh Nasim at a press conference in Islamabad, Bokhari said the CII had objected to the punishment of chemical castration for rapists, describing it as “unIslamic”.

The clause was later omitted from the bill before its passage in Wednesday’s joint session of parliament, Bokhari said, noting that “Article 227 of the Constitution also guarantees that all laws must be under the Shariah and the Holy Quran, hence we cannot pass any law that goes against these values.”

She said the omission was made after detailed deliberation by a government committee under the guidance of the law minister.

About the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021, the MNA said the previous law had flaws that hampered the provision of justice to victims, hence a new law had been introduced to ensure swift dispensation of justice.

A file picture shows the demonstration in which the women demanding examplry punishment to rapists and other sexual offenders.

She explained that an anti-rape crisis cell would be set up in every district hospital for rapid medical examination of cases. Bokhari said the government had promised to protect people’s rights and “it did so by introducing necessary legislation”.
Bukhari said such punishment would also violate the constitution and added that the law minister, Farogh Naseem, had also suggested the clause be excluded. She did not explain why the government waited for two days to clarify that the draft clause was dropped, especially in light of widely published but incorrect media reports that it had passed. 
“As per the new law, identity of a victim [in rape cases] has been protected as trial in the cases will be held in-camera,” Bukhari said, adding that special courts would be established to provide speedy justice in such cases. 
The castration clause was quietly removed from the documents before the bill was put before lawmakers. 
Sexual crimes against women and children are common in Pakistan, where many of the victims never come forward because of the stigma attached to the assault. Many children are also sexually abused and such cases have surfaced in large numbers in recent years. 
Last year, the gang rape of a woman who was driving alone on a highway at night with her children when her car broke down near the city of Lahore had shocked many in Pakistan and prompted nationwide protests. The prime minister suggested at the time public hanging and chemical castration as punishment for rapists. 
Chemical castration for sexual offenders is the use of drugs to lower the level of male hormones in men. 
The gang raped woman’s attackers were later sentenced to death, but have appealed the sentences. Such trials and appeals typically take years in Pakistan and many of the sentences are eventually overturned because of flaws in assault laws. Khan’s government is now seeking to speed up the proceedings from years to months.