Pakistani president approves anti-rape ordinance | Sexual Assault News

A new statute sets up special courts to try cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring that all proceedings be completed within four months.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s president has approved a ordinance aimed at ensuring that rape trials will end within four months, and also set up a national register of sex offenders.

“The country’s President Dr Arif Alvi has approved the Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020,” a statement from his office said on Tuesday, adding that the ordinance will remain valid for 120 days until it needs to be ratified by parliament.

“The prescription will help speed it up [legal] cases of sexual abuse against women and children. “

The new ordinance will set up special courts to try cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring that all proceedings be completed within four months.

It also establishes a special government cell to expedite the processing of legal cases, giving it the power to intervene and order medical examinations of rapists six hours after filing a complaint.

Lack of adequate medical evidence has often been at the heart of acquittals in rape cases in the country.

Last month the government in Punjab province, the country’s most populous country, banned the use of the archaic and invasive “two-fingered” test by medical examiners to determine whether a woman had been raped.

The country’s federal human rights ministry also opposed the use of the test.

In September, the gang rape of a woman on a major highway in Punjab sparked national outrage.

Following the incident, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for repeat offenders in rape cases to be chemically castrated, and members of his ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf promised that use of the death penalty would increase in rape cases.

Local media cited the new bill legalizing chemical castration as a form of punishment for repeat offenders.

It also criminalized the act of revealing identities of rapists.

“Violence against women and girls – including rape, so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence and forced marriage – remains a serious problem. [in Pakistan], ”Reads a report on the country by Human Rights Watch 2019.

“Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000” honorary “killings every year.”

The country ranks 130th in the UNDP Gender Equality Index and 151st, or third last, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Index.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

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