Islamabad: Pakistan has introduced chemical castration as a possible punishment for serial rapists under a law that also calls for faster trials of suspected sexual offenders, a government official said. Parliament passed the law last week and it came into effect immediately, government official Waqar Hussain said. Chemical castration, carried out by the use of drugs and reversible, is practised in Poland, South Korea, the Czech Republic and some US states.
PM Imran Khan said last year he wanted to introduce the penalty amid a national outcry over increasing offences and the specific case of a mother of two driving along a major highway who was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint. Fewer than 3% of rapists are convicted in courts in Pakistan, according to the non-profit organisation, War Against Rape. Amnesty International has called for investigations into the causes of sexual assaults instead of opting for harsher punishments.
The passage of the bill comes almost a year after President Arif Alvi approved the new anti-rape ordinance that was cleared by the Pakistan cabinet, calling for the chemical castration of rapists with the consent of the convict and setting up of special courts for speedy trails. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2021 bill was passed along with 33 other bills by the joint session of parliament. It seeks to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the Dawn newspaper reported.
“Chemical castration is a process duly notified by rules framed by the prime minister, whereby a person is rendered incapable of performing sexual intercourse for any period of his life, as may be determined by the court through administration of drugs which shall be conducted through a notified medical board,” according to the bill. Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed protested over the bill and termed it un-Islamic and against Sharia. He said a rapist should be hanged publicly, but there was no mention of castration in Sharia.