According to AFP on the 16th, the President of Pakistan approved a new anti-rape decree on the 15th, which will accelerate the conviction of perpetrators of sexual violence and launch the country’s first national criminal registration system.
In a statement, the Office of the President said that the decree would help speed up the handling of sexual abuse cases against women and children. The Pakistani government now has 120 days to submit the decree to Parliament and make it a permanent law.
The much-anticipated new ordinance is called the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Interrogation) Ordinance 2020.
The decree calls for the establishment of special courts to speedily hear cases of rape and sexual abuse against women and children, and requires the court to close the trial and sentence of rapists within four months.
In addition, the law also prohibits the disclosure of the identity of rape victims. According to Pakistan’s Dawn, the decree also contains more severe punishments for rapists.
In addition to allowing chemical excision of habitual rapists, it is also allowed to impose severe sentences on felons, including mass rape, but not in public.
The British Guardian said on the 16th that the trial of rape in Pakistan may be delayed for several years before the introduction of the new anti-rape law, which makes it difficult for victims to stand up and tell their painful experiences.
Under the new law, any official who neglects his duty in investigating rape cases may face three years’ imprisonment.
Rape cases are frequent in Pakistan. In January 2018, 24-year-old serial killer Imran Ali sexually assaulted and brutally killed a 6-year-old girl named Zanab Ansari in Lahore, triggering protests from Pakistani people.
In September this year, there was another horrific rape in Lahore.
A woman drove home and called for help because she ran out of gas. But just as the police arrived, two men came to the car and robbed her while raping her children.
The case provoked public anger, and to add fuel to the fire, the Pakistani police also complained that the victim had gone out alone.
After the outbreak of national protests, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to eliminate shortcomings in existing laws and amend laws to speed up access to justice for rape victims.
Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology, Choudhri, told Dawn that the decree was a “landmark achievement” of the Pakistani government because it solved one of the most serious problems in Pakistani society.
He revealed that the country registers an average of about 5,000 rapes every year, of which only 5% will be convicted.