Pakistani President Approves New Anti-Rape Law

Pakistani President Arif Alvi signed a new anti-rape law on Dec. 15 that will speed up rape trials, use chemical castration as punishment for serial rapists, and could imprison officers negligent in investigating rape cases.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi signed a new anti-rape law on Dec. 15 that will speed up rape trials, use chemical castration as punishment for serial rapists, and could imprison officers negligent in investigating rape cases.

“The ordinance will help expedite cases of sexual abuse against women and children,” Alvi’s office said in a statement.

The new law orders the establishment of special courts nationwide to hold trials of alleged rapists and issue verdicts within four months, speeding up rape trials that would drag for years due to flawed laws and investigations.

The new law also includes the use of chemical castration as punishment for repeat rape offenders, which was criticized by human rights organization Amnesty International as a violation of “Pakistan’s international and constitutional obligations to prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” claiming that it will not “fix a flawed criminal justice system.”

“Instead of trying to deflect attention, the authorities should focus on the crucial work of reforms that will address the root causes of sexual violence and give survivors the justice they deserve and the protection they need,” South Asia Campaigner Rimmel Mohydin, at Amnesty International said in a statement on Dec. 16.

Prompted by protests over the gang rape of a woman in front of her children last September and over an investigating officer who seemed to blame the victim, the new law could also sentence officers for three years in prison if found to be negligent in investigating such cases. 

Alvi’s approval of the new Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020 immediately brought it into force, but it still requires an approval from the parliament within three months to remain in effect.


© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.