Thursday January 27, 2022

‘Only certainty of punishment will prevent rape’

November 22, 2021
‘Only certainty of punishment will prevent rape’

LAHORE: Senator Waleed Iqbal here on Sunday said it was not the severity, but the certainty of punishment that will prevent a criminal from committing rape, adding Article 354-A is there for 30 years to check assault on women but this law could not deter the crime.

Enforcing the rule of law deters criminals, Senator Waleed Iqbal observed while speaking at the third Asma Jahangir Conference. “There has to be a narrative building on violence against women and children,” he said.

Fauzia Viqar, women rights activist and former chairperson of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, said rape is a crime of power. “We are celebrating law but we had many laws which had similar provisions," Fauzia said.

It is about resourcing the mechanism, holding police and court accountable in gender-based violence (GBV) cases but above all the first thing is reporting. Leadership has to be provided to handle violence against women, she concluded.

Nida Aly, Executive Director AGHS Legal Aid Cell, said there was no dearth of laws, adding implementation and lack of resources is the issue. “A large number of cases have been filed after the new anti-rape law but resources are needed to address them. The CCPO was asked about it and he said no resources have been allocated for implementation.” A regular rape trial takes 2-3 years to conclude, she said.

Valerie Khan, development practitioner and child rights expert, said: “It is important to challenge impunity of perpetrators besides acknowledging police and judges when they work better.”