Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said on Friday that no law for the public hanging of rapists is in the offing, adding however that the government was mulling several measures to prevent such incidents from taking place and ensuring justice for victims.
In an informal conversation with journalists at the Ministry of Human Rights, Mazari said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had rejected the proposal of any such law, citing international conventions that Pakistan is signatory to.
The change in stance comes days after the premier's interview with a private TV channel, in which he had called for public hanging of rapists and said that habitual sex offenders should be physically or chemically castrated so that they could not commit such crimes in future. He had added, however, that the hanging of a rapist publicly might be opposed internationally as many countries carried out castration of sex abusers.
A day later, the federal cabinet had endorsed the premier’s view, vowing that the government would not accept any pressure from the West.
“If Islam guides us to give punishment to rapists publicly then there must be some wisdom in it,” Information Minister Shibli Faraz had said at a post-cabinet meeting press conference later in the evening.
Faraz had said the government would not accept any pressure from the international community and would make legislation regarding public hanging of rapists and chemical and physical castration of habitual sex abusers. “We will not tolerate any pressure from the west, east, north and south,” he had declared.
“Rapists must be hanged publicly so that they become an example for others,” the minister had said, adding that exemplary punishment should be awarded to the culprits of the motorway incident.
During Friday’s meeting with journalists, Mazari reiterated, however, that the government was making efforts to prevent incidents of sexual assault. “There will be no option for a settlement with the victim's family in such cases now,” she said, adding that more women will be inducted into the police force, who will be tasked with investigating such cases.
The human rights minister also said that the government would set up a ‘Rape Centre’ that would follow up on such cases in courts.