The government has withdrawn the clause pertaining to castration of rapists from the Anti-Rape law passed in the joint sitting of the parliament on Wednesday, it has emerged. The clause was struck out at the last minute on the recommendation of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari announced that the clause about chemical castration of serial rapists had been removed from the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2021, due to opposition by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
She made this announcement while addressing a press conference along with Law Minister Farogh Nasim in Islamabad. She said the CII was against the punishment of chemical castration for rapists, on the grounds that it is ‘unIslamic’.
The parliament had passed new anti-rape legislation which mandated that repeat sex offenders could face chemical castration. However, on Thursday, reports indicated that the government may have excluded the particular injunction, in the new law, that decrees chemical castration.
Journalist Cyril Almeida tweeted that although castration was a ‘horrible idea’ to begin with, but withdrawing it shows that the government only ‘stands down’ to the religious right.
Khurram Husain, Business and Economy journalist, and columnist said that castration was a ‘problematic part of the law’.
Chemical castration is the use of drugs to suppress sexual activity. It is a legal form of punishment in South Korea, Poland, and some states in the US. When the bill was introduced in December last year, it evoked a critical response from Amnesty International which said that punishment of chemical castration was ‘cruel and inhumane”’.
Earlier, the government introduced the bill following growing resentment in the public and civil society over a surge in rape against women and children. The bill, in addition to the castration clause, stated that the government will set up special courts to expedite rape trials and ensure that sexual abuse cases are decided “preferably, within four months”. The law further mandates that those found guilty of gang rape will be sentenced to death or life in prison.