Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fawad Chaudhry: public hanging of rapists is not the solution

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Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has disapproved of the nationwide calls to publicly hang the rapists in his exhaustive speech at the National Assembly on Monday.

In his speech, he said such measures would worsen chaos and exacerbate crimes in society. He, however, pitched holistic recommendations for improvements in the legislation regarding rape cases. Chaudhry called on the National Assembly to pay attention to the faults imbued in the system that stall conviction in the majority of rape cases.

3-5% rate of convictions: Judiciary has become an accomplice in sex crimes

Chaudhry pointed out unbelievably low rates of conviction with delayed justice delivery as the major flaws. The minister noted that the justice system, instead of becoming the deterrent, has become the biggest accomplice in promoting sex crimes like rapes of minors and women.

Read more: ‘Man of society’: Murad Saeed says he takes full responsibility for motorway rape case

He strongly rejected the call for publicly hanging the rapists in his tweet on Sunday. He said that demands for extreme punishments like chemical castration, public hanging, burning alive the rapists from the parliamentarians are reflective of the collective extremist mindset deeply embedded in our society. He said violence and extreme measures are not viable answers to the heinous crimes. He is taken aback by the violent reactions of the parliamentarians.

In his speech, he remarked that the Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code orders for the hanging of a rapist, however with a conviction rate of 3-5% in rape cases, the country cannot expect to control sexual abuse against females. He suggested that instead of making the punishments more severe, the state needs to crank up the conviction rate along with swift delivery of justice.

Read more: Conviction rate in rape cases under 3% in Pakistan: report

Better handling of rape cases, provisions in legislation to ensure conviction 

Chaudhry pressed for immediate revisions on how police, medical staff, judges should deal with the victims of rape cases. He said that female police officers should be appointed to investigate and process rape cases.  He went on to say that the existing procedures torment the victims further. He asked why rapists are released from jails without conviction, such as the culprits involved in the motorway gang rape. One of the two assailants has a past record of abusing a mother and a daughter during a dacoity. He said due to the ineptness of the justice system, such heinous criminals are allowed to roam freely in our society.

Moreover, cases impeding for years discourage the victims to fight long legal battles to obtain justice. In the end, the victims are forced to compromise on the issue. Hence, he said that such provisions should be made in the legislation that weed out the possibility of settlement or compromise on cases of sexual assault.

Chaudhry has always taken a hard position against public hanging and violent punishments for sexual offenders. He had expressed similar views before on the incident of the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl Zainab from Kasur.

GVS News Desk

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