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September 16, 2020

NA divided over public hanging of rape convicts

Top Story

September 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The members of the National Assembly while discussing Lahore-Sialkot Motorway rape case on Tuesday demanded exemplary punishment for those involved in rape crimes against women but division was visible on death penalty and public hanging for culprits.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry fell short of demanding capital punishment for culprits involved in rape crimes, but he called for reforming the justice system in the country to increase conviction rate in rape cases to prevent such inhuman acts. He also suggested that a rape victim should be treated as victim of violence and women investigation officer should be appointed to handle such cases.

Fawad Chaudhry observed that recent tragedy had shaken the nation and people wanted that culprits should be hanged publicly, saying that anger among public increases when such incidents happen repeatedly. He observed that in Zainab case, the culprit was hanged and another person namely Mudassar, who was stoned to death by people, was found innocent.

However, he said the hanging of a culprit has not resulted in preventing tragic incidents, and rape cases were continuously happening.

“We need to reform the justice system in a way that punishment is awarded in shortest time and there should be no reconciliation between aggrieved party and culprits,” he said.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) while strongly condemning the tragedy, said such cases could have been prevented had the government removed shortcomings in Zainab Alert Bill.

He demanded that punishment for culprits involving in rape cases should be decided in the light of the injunctions of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. “The Holy Quran categorically directs for punishment for married and unmarried persons involving in rape cases with consent or without consent,” he said.

The JI parliamentarian, however, opposed castration of men involved in gang rape cases as proposed by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireeen Mazari. “I question as to what will happen if a women rapes a man,” he said.

However, he said the suggestion from the minister has proved that there were shortcomings in the Zainab Alert Bill. He recalled that following public hanging of culprits involved in raping a child during General Zia regime, no such incident occurred for the next 10 years.

The PPP parliamentarian Raja Pervaiz Ashraf regretted that the justice system has not been able to yield results to prevent such incidents. “In our system, it is the victim who suffers while culprit escapes punishment,” he said, adding that most of rape cases could not reach logical conclusion.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul regretted that the opposition used the tragedy for political point scoring.

She suggested that a committee should be constituted to decide as to how to take forward the Shariah laws, saying that names of victim women and children should be kept secret.

Amir Haider Hoti of the ANP demanded disciplinary action against the police officer who gave irresponsible statement with regard to the rape incident.

The PPP parliamentarian Hina Rabbani Khar said not only the tragic incident but also the irresponsible statement given by the police officer had shaken the whole country.

“What compelled the police officer to give such statement,” she said, questioning whether he was giving message that no woman should come out of her house in night time.

Mohsin Dawar alleged that there seemed no transparency on part of the government while investigating the tragic rape case.