Imran Khan-led govt sets up anti-rape crisis cells

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By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, March 27 (IANS)
In the wake of rising cases of rape, assault and sexual abuse in Pakistan, the Imran Khan-led government has decided to set up anti-rape crisis cells in every district of the country.
As per the notification issued by the Federal Ministry of Law, a 42-member Anti-Rape Ordinance Implementation Committees has been constituted, which will oversee the establishment of these cells.
Representatives from the Ministries of Human Rights, Health, Interior, the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and the provincial forensic agencies are also going to be a part of the committee.
As per details shared by the Law Ministry, the crisis cells will be led by the districts’ respective Deputy Commissioners and will assist the rape victims.
The development comes in the wake of decision taken by the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases during November 2020, which approved two ordinances to introduce strict punishments for sex offenders, including chemical castration, and setting up special courts for rape cases.
“The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 introduce the concept of chemical castration mainly in form of rehabilitation,” a statement issued by the Law Ministry said.
“The two state-of-the-art pieces of legislation are in line with the Constitutional guarantees of Pakistan, as also the International treaties.”
The Ministry added that the special courts would be established to conduct trial in rape cases.
Moreover, the anti-rape crisis cells will ensure prompt registration of an FIR, medical examination and forensic analysis.
The laws abolish the two-finger virginity testing for rape victims during medico-legal examination, while it also stops the cross-examination of a rape survivor by the accused.
The ordinance also includes in-camera trials; witness protection for the victim and witnesses; user of modern devices during investigation and trial; legal assistance to the victims through legal aid and justice authority; and appointment of a special prosecutor for the special court
Pakistan has seen a major upsurge in rape cases in the recent past.
The government has been under pressure to take strong action against the rape victims with the imposition of speedy justice, investigation and trial of the rapists.
Human rights activists have also raised questions over the snail pace of the government in implementing the decision of the Anti-Rape Ordinance and have urged it take quick steps in ensuring implementation of the laws and provision of justice to the rape victims.

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