Pakistan’s anti-rape law

Pakistan government has recently passed a presidential decree to expedite cases of sexual abuse against children and women. Decree has been passed after protest over a gang rape of a woman whose car ran out of fuel.  The woman was travelling along with her two children. Anti-rape ordinance is valid only for four months after which it requires parliamentary approval.

 Key features

  • The introduced law is basically an ordinance.
  • It will create special courts to try cases within four months. The courts are to be set up across the country to expedite trials and cases of rape suspects as early as possible.
  • The law will establish anti-rape cells that will provide medical examinations within 6 hours of a complaint.
  • A National Sex Offender registry is to be created.
  • The ordinance prohibits the identification of rape victims. It has been made a punishable offence.
  • The law is also expected to include death penalty and chemical castration as some of the punishments.

Other proposals

The lawmakers had considered introducing public hanging of the persons convicted in the case. However, the Prime Minister objected the proposal saying that it will affect the preferential trade status of Pakistan with the European Union. The Prime Minister had suggested Chemical Castration instead of public hanging.

Background

Only 3% of rape cases or sexual assault result in conviction in Pakistan. The country ranks 130 in United Nations development programmes gender equality index. It ranks 151 or third last in the Global gender gap index of the world economic forum. According to Pakistani activist there are more than 2000 honour killings happening in the country.

Preferential Trade Status with European Union

The Agreement will allow duty free access to the European Union. India has been trying to sign this agreement since 2007. India is currently paying export duties of 4%, 5% and 9.6% to Indian Yarns, Fabrics and Garments respectively. On the other hand, Pakistan and Bangladesh are exporting at Zero Duty.

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