President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday approved the Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020 that will ensure speedy trial 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 for speedy trials of sexual assault suspects. The courts would have to wrap up the 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, disclosing identities of victims would be prohibited and declared 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.
After an incident involving the alleged rape of a woman and her minor daughter in Sindh's Kashmore district, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced in November that the government would bring a "stringent and holistic anti-rape ordinance closing all loopholes".