By Abdullah Zahid
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday promulgated the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 that will expedite prosecution of rape cases with women and children as victims and will also allow for chemical castration of those convicted of such offences.
A statement issued by the President House said that under the ordinance, special courts would be established throughout the country to accelerate the trials of sexual assault suspects. The courts would have to concludes rape cases within four months, the statement added.
Under the ordinance, Prime Minister’s Anti-Rape Crisis Cells would also be set up which would be responsible for conducting medico-legal examination within six hours of the incident.
A countrywide registry of sexual offenders would also be established with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
Under the ordinance, revealing the identity of a rape victim or survivor is a punishable offence, the statement said. Police and government officials who show negligence in investigating the cases would be jailed for three years along with the imposition of fines. Additionally, police and government officials who provide false information would also be punished.
Repeat offenders would be chemically castrated under the guidance of a notified board, the statement read.
It further said that a fund would be set up by the prime minister, money from which would be used to establish special courts while federal and provincial governments would also allocate grants to the fund. Help would also be taken from local, national and international agencies along with non-governmental organisations and individuals.
The ordinance comes months after the motorway gang-rape incident that caused an outpouring of anger across the country and brought sexual violence against women into national focus.
In November, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that his government would introduce a “stringent and holistic” anti-rape ordinance to ensure fast-track trials. The decision was taken following the Kashmore gangrape incident.