Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari revealed on Friday that a clause providing for "chemical castration” of habitual rapists had been removed from the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the light of objections raised by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
Flanked by Law Minister Farogh Nasim at a press conference in Islamabad, Bokhari said the CII had objected to the punishment of chemical castration for rapists, describing it as "unIslamic".
The clause was later omitted from the bill before its passage in Wednesday's joint session of parliament, Bokhari said, noting that "Article 227 of the Constitution also guarantees that all laws must be under the Shariah and the Holy Quran, hence we cannot pass any law that goes against these values."
She said the omission was made after detailed deliberation by a government committee under the guidance of the law minister.
About the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021, the MNA said the previous law had flaws that hampered the provision of justice to victims, hence a new law had been introduced to ensure swift dispensation of justice.
Also read: Will the new law stop rapes?
She explained that an anti-rape crisis cell would be set up in every district hospital for rapid medical examination of cases. Bokhari said the government had promised to protect people's rights and "it did so by introducing necessary legislation".
'EVM not 100pc, but better than conventional system'
Meanwhile, Law Minister Nasim responded to reservations of the opposition parties regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other laws passed by the parliament.
He explained that while EVMs and the conventional voting system were not flawless to the core, analysis revealed that the former had facets that made electronic machines better than the old system.
His remarks come two days after the government managed to get a record number of 33 bills, including the controversial bill on EVMs and I-voting for overseas Pakistanis, passed from the joint sitting of parliament despite facing strong resistance from the opposition.
"In the previous system, there were 10-15 weak areas to rig votes like double stamping, tearing of ballot paper or incorrect stamping. In contrast, an EVM is like a calculator and it goes live which is better than the earlier mechanism," the minister said.
He insisted that the Election Commission of Pakistan was independent and empowered but it had to hold elections as per the laws passed by the parliament. He stressed that the intention behind introducing EVMs was "nothing more than holding fair elections".
Regarding the opposition's criticism of the government's alleged move to make changes to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) law, he said the SBP had its own statutory powers which it would not delegate to any authority.
He said it was regrettable that the opposition raised objections on different issues without studying them.
"For example, the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav is a matter of Pakistan's national security and this is our country's red line. How do you call yourself a politician when you don't get the hang of such matters?" he said.
Nasim said the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020, was not person-specific, adding that "it will be applicable to anyone coming under the ambit of the law."
He also addressed the criticism regarding the issue of census.
"The result of the census was rejected by the MQM and it demanded an audit of five per cent results, which was initially agreed to by the then government but it later backtracked. Now we are conducting a new census, which is the only feasible option," he added.
The minister said the opposition could criticise any matter provided they were raising factually correct objections. "Besides, there are some red lines that must be seen and not crossed," he added.