Sex offenders convicted of multiple rapes in Pakistan could face chemical castration after Parliament passed a new legislation that aims to speed up convictions and impose tougher sentences.
The bill is a response to public outcry against a recent spike in cases of women and children being raped in the country, as demand grows for effective curbs to the crime.
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 the 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 on Wednesday. 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.
Chemical castration is the use of drugs to reduce sexual activity. It is a legal form of punishment in countries including South Korea, Poland, the Czech Republic and in some states in the US, according to media reports.
Critics say fewer than 4 per cent of sexual assault or rape cases in Pakistan result in a conviction.