ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved a chemical castration regulation for rapists. The decision was made at a federal cabinet meeting where the law ministry presented a draft anti-rape bill.
The Cabinet, in principle, approved the Anti-Rape Act (Investigation and Trials) 2020 and the Pakistan Criminal Code (Amendments) 2020. The draft regulations include an increased role of women in the police, rapid tracking of rape cases and witness protection.
Emphasizing that this was a serious problem, the prime minister said no civilized society would tolerate such crimes. He said no delay would be tolerated, because “We need to ensure a safe environment for our citizens.”
Imran said the law would be clear and transparent with strict law enforcement. He said rape victims would be able to file complaints without fear, adding that the government would protect their identities.
Cabinet witnessed live deliberations before approval of the proposed law, as some members insisted on public hanging those convicted of gang rape or found to be involved in sexual crimes against children. However, the prime minister said castration would be a start.
However, when Minister of Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz was questioned at a post-cabinet press conference, he said the law was being finalized and it was too early to share details at this stage.
He said after giving in-principle approval of the anti-rape regulation, the cabinet asked the Legal Division and other relevant departments to finalize the draft at the earliest by removing all legal void that could be exploited by offenders.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan, after taking seriously the recent rape incident of a mother and daughter in Sindh, directed Law Minister Farogh Naseem to prepare comprehensive regulations, which include fast-track trials of the accused, a comprehensive definition of rape, inclusion new offenses and stricter penalties for convicted rapists.
The minister said because the regulation was very important and involved punitive action against rapists, it was forwarded to the Legal Division for further amendments. He hopes the initiative will significantly reduce the number of rape incidents in the country by creating a deterrent against such offenses.
He said the cabinet gave approval to establish IT parks in Karachi and Quetta on the recommendation of the Ministers of Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications, and Panning, Special Development and Initiatives Syed Aminul Haque and Asad Umar, respectively.
The minister noted that the initiative was intended to increase the exports of the IT sector by exploiting its full potential. The Cabinet approved the creation of a Special Technology Zone Authority. Initially, the zones will be defined in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Haripur. The Cabinet also approved such a zone for Karachi and Quetta.
The Prime Minister observed that Pakistan enjoys great potential in information technology (IT) which must be exploited.
He said IT was a step forward in modern times and directed the establishment of 50 technology zones across the country. The Cabinet allowed Attorney Farogh Naseem to submit a case to the top court for guidance on two issues relating to the inclusion of the MNA and senators on the board of directors of national institutions on a pro bono basis and post-appointment approval of a post in the light of Mustafa’s case ruling.
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem gave the meeting an assessment of the legislation relevant to the appointment of MPs to the board of directors of government entities.
The Cabinet decided to seek direction from the Supreme Court in this regard. The Cabinet also ratified decisions taken at meetings of the Cabinet Committee for Institutional Reform which were held on 29 October and 12 November, respectively.
Progress reports regarding the vacancies of the chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director at various government agencies were also submitted. The prime minister directed the early completion of the process and the appointment of the DG of National Archives under Clause 3 (2) of the National Archives Law.
The Economic Affairs Division notified the cabinet that the G-20 countries had suspended the payment of loans worth 1.7 to 2 billion dollars granted to the country during the period May to December this year.
The decision to postpone the payment of these loans and facilities was taken in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, which will remain in effect until June 2021. The Cabinet gave approval to the secretary of the Economic Affairs Division to sign a loan rescheduling agreement with the 16 G-20 countries.
The Cabinet also gave approval to the Ministry of Commerce to issue a certificate without objection (NOC) for payments to various international channels in connection with sports transmissions on Pakistani Television.
It also directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to carry out an effective campaign for public awareness of the corona virus pandemic as directed by the Lahore High Court on a petition.
The Cabinet approved the appointment of the managing director and board of governors of the National Book Foundation. The Cabinet also gave approval to refer amendments to the 1991 Civil Aviation Regulations to the Cabinet Committee on Law.
The Cabinet also ratified decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee at its meeting on November 16 and decisions of the Cabinet Committee on Energy at its meeting on November 19. Planning Minister Asad Umar gave a brief explanation of important economic indicators.