President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday approved Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020, under which special courts will be set up across the country to expedite trial of rape cases on priority basis.
The special courts will dispose of the rape cases within four months.
The Ordinance also suggests setting up of Anti-rape Crisis Cells by the Prime Minister, which will be authorized to conduct medico-legal examination within six hours of the incident.
A record will be prepared at national level with help of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to register the perpetrators of sexual abuse.
The Ordinance prohibits revealing of identity of rape victims and make it a punishable offense.
Cabinet approved anti-rape bill
The federal cabinet last month approved two anti-rape ordinances. The ordinances “change the definition of rape”. The ordinances also approved harsher punishments for rapists, including chemical castration and hanging as amendments to existing anti-rape laws.
The meeting was headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also discussed the restricting of PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) and the Rs1 trillion plan for Karachi, which is expected to address basic infrastructural and other issues.
The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 and Pakistan Penal Code Ordinance 2020 is revolutionary as it includes terms such as “transgender” and “gang-rape” for the first time in the country’s history. The proposed law also prohibits the archaic and controversial “two-finger” test administered on rape victims by doctors that involves testing the laxity of vaginal muscles with fingers. The demeaning test has been prohibited in the new ordinance.
“The federal cabinet has approved anti-rape ordinances which change the basic definition of rape and suggest severe punishment for gang rape and hanging of rapists,” said Information Minister Shibli Faraz in a post-cabinet meeting press conference.
He announced that the ordinances would be finalized in a week.
Human Rights Minister Dr. Shireen Mazari said in a tweet: “Cabinet Committee on Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) will now finalize (the ordinances) and it should become operational in the next few days. It includes an expansive definition of rape, the establishment of the special court, anti-rape crisis cell, protection of victims and witnesses, and prohibition of the two-finger test,” she said.
Mr. Faraz said Prime Minister Khan, after taking serious notice of a recent rape incident of a mother and her daughter in Sindh, had asked Law Minister Farogh Naseem to prepare comprehensive ordinances encompassing fast-track trial of the accused, comprehensive definition of rape, the inclusion of new offenses and strict punishments for convicted rapists
The minister said as the ordinances were of great importance and involved punitive actions against rapists, it was forwarded to the law division for further improvement.
He hoped that the initiative would significantly reduce the country’s number of rape incidents by creating deterrence against society’s offense.
While talking to Dawn, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry termed approval of the ordinances a landmark achievement of the government by addressing one of society’s gravest issues. He said the ordinances also permitted chemical castration of habitual rapists. This sort of punishment was first hinted at by the prime minister when he said such punishment was being awarded to habitual rapists in developed countries.
APP with additional input by GVS News Desk