ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has removed a clause from the criminal law bill providing for “chemical castration” as punishment for habitual rapists.
Last year, Pakistan president Arif Alvi had approved the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020 and the Criminal Law (amendment) Ordinance, to provide mechanisms for curbing sexual abuse crimes against women, transgenders and children. The two ordinances had introduced harsher punishments for sex offenders, including chemical castration. On Wednesday, prime minister Imran Khan-led coalition government had hurriedly passed nearly three dozen laws in a joint session of the parliament, including the anti-rape criminal law, from which the penalty of chemical castration was omitted.
Parliamentary secretary for law and justice, Maleeha Bokhari, revealed on Friday that the clause was removed due to objections raised by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan’s constitutional body responsible for legal advice to the government and parliament on religious matters.
Article 227 of Pakistan’s constitution guarantees that all laws in the country should be in accordance with the Shariah and the Holy Quran. “The omission of chemical castration clause was made after detailed deliberation by a government committee in the light of CII objections under the guidance of the law minister. We cannot pass any law that goes against these (Islamic) values,” Bokhari said.
About the anti-rape bill, Bokhari 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.
She explained that an anti-rape crisis cell would be set up in every district hospital for rapid medical examination of cases.
The punishment of chemical castration for rapists was introduced in last year’s presidential ordinance amid a national outcry over increasing offences and the specific case of a mother of two driving along a major Lahore-Sialkot highway who was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint in front of her children.
The new anti-rape law, meanwhile, has declared rape and gang rape as non-compoundable offences, where no compromise or settlement is allowed between the parties and a court must give the final decision.