Pakistan’s most powerful imams VETO ‘unIslamic’ chemical castration of rapists just two days after it was passed

  • The new legislation against rape was passed by Parliament last Wednesday 
  • The Islamic Ideology Council on Friday blocked chemical castration clause 
  • Following shocking gang rapes last year, PM Imran Khan called for harsh punishment
  • After a mother was raped at gunpoint by two men in front of her children, protests were sparked 

The ‘unIslamic’ punishment for chemical castration of rapists by Pakistan’s supreme imams was vetoed just days after it was approved by parliament.

Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan had advocated for tough legislation after the horrific case of a mother being dragged out her car and assaulted by two men in front her children. 

Parliament passed the new anti-rape legislation last Wednesday but the clause relating to chemical castration was torpedoed on Friday by the Islamic Ideology Council, a state-run body that ensures laws comply with Sharia.

“The Islamic Council of Ideology objected that chemical castration be punished for rapists because it was an un-Islamic practise, so we decided not to include it in the law,” Maleeka Bukhari (parliamentary secretary for law) told reporters. 

Chemical castration is the use of medication to lower testosterone. It has been used in Indonesia for paedophiles since 2016, and in Poland for child rapists since 2006. 

Women protesting against rape in Karachi in September last year. Nationwide demonstrations were sparked after a mother was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint in front of her children. Imran Khan vowed to crackdown on rape following the attack

In September 2013, Karachi saw women protest against rape. National demonstrations broke out after two men raped a mother in her car. Imran Khan promised to take action against rape in the wake of this attack

Prime Minister Imran Khan (pictured in Kabul last month) had pushed for chemical castration after the shocking case of a mother who was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint in front of her children

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan (pictured in Kabul last Month), had advocated for chemical castingration following the horrific case of a mother being dragged from her car by two men and then raped in front her children.

Khan’s government hastily passed more than three dozen laws at a session of the parliament that met on Wednesday. 

Amnesty International immediately condemned the chemical castingration clause in an open statement. They called it a ‘cruel, retrograde step’. 

Rimmel Mohydin of Amnesty International South Asia Campaigner stated: “Forced chemical castings would violate Pakistan’s international and constitutional obligations prohibiting torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment.

Punishments like these will not fix an inept criminal justice system. The authorities must not try to divert attention from the critical work that reforms are required in order to address the root causes and provide survivors with the protection and justice they require.

With the exception of the chemical casting clause, the new anti-rape law allows for faster convictions as well as tougher sentences. This includes life imprisonment and death penalties.

The government must establish special courts in rape cases, to preserve the anonymity and privacy of the victims.

In addition, the national registry will hold the names and addresses of sexual offenders. 

Khan stated last year that he would introduce harsher penalties in the face of national outcry about increasing offenses and the case of a mother who was raped while driving on a highway with her children in front after her car crashed outside Lahore, September 2020. 

Asked about the crime a week later, Khan said he would like to see the rapists publicly hanged.

But, it would put at risk a “preferential trade” status granted to Pakistan by EU. This was why the PM looked into other severe penalties like chemical castration.

Khan said last year he wanted to introduce the penalty amid a national outcry over increasing offences and the specific case of a mother raped on a highway in front of her children after her car broke down outside Lahore in September, 2020 (pictured: a woman holds a sign protesting over the crime in Karachi last year)

Khan stated last year that he would introduce the penalty in the face of national outcry about increasing offenses and the case of a mother who was raped in front her children on the highway after her car crashed outside Lahore, September 2020. (pictured: A woman holding a protest sign over Karachi’s crime last year).

The attackers of the gang-raped victim were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, although they have appealed.

These appeals and trials can take many years in Pakistan. Many sentences are overturned due to flaws with assault laws. 

Pakistan is a country where sexual crimes against children and women are very common. Many victims don’t come forward due to stigmatization in conservative Muslim societies.

The non-profit organization War Against Rape claims that less than 3% of rapists in Pakistan are convicted by courts. 

Many children have been abused sexually by religious school clerics.