Khkula Ayub

PESHAWAR: President Dr Arif Alvi has approved anti-rape ordinance 2020 aimed at ensuring speedy trials of rape cases of women and children and offenders will be given strict punishments under it.

“The President of Pakistan has approved the Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020,” said a statement issued from presidential office on Tuesday. Since it’s an ordinance hence it will remain valid for 120 days unless ratified by the Parliament following due process of law.

The trial of rape cases is to be concluded within a span of four months and for this purpose special courts will be established throughout the country. Additionally, the Prime Minister’s Anti-Rape Crisis Cell is to be set up for carrying out medico-legal examination of the victims within six hours of the incident taking place which is to be headed by female police officer of BS-21, BS-20 and BS-18 at the federal, provincial and district level respectively. Additionally, rehabilitation and provision of legal aid to victims and psychological rehabilitation of offenders is also incorporated in the said ordinance.

A national sex offenders registry is to be maintained with the help of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and chemical castration as a form of punishment of the repeat offenders is legalised by the said ordinance. Similarly, the act revealing identities of the victims is also criminalised. Evidence recording of witnesses and victims via video link is allowed as per the ordinance.

Police and other concerned officials who are negligent in dealing such cases are to be imprisoned for a period of three years along with fine as a punishment.

In November 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced to bring anti-rape ordinance to tackle the rising number of rape cases.

According to Human Rights Watch 2019 report on Pakistan, there are about 1,000 honor killings every year. Pakistan ranks 130th on the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index.