Last week, a woman was raped by two men when she ran out of gas and her car broke down on a highway outside Lahore. Authorities said the woman called a helpline and was waiting for police to come in, when men raped her and robbed her of her two children.
Following the incident, Lahore Police Chief Omar Sheikh was angrily retreating and called for his resignation after suggesting rape. He said that the victim should have been better prepared for her journey by making sure to complete her fuel tank and get to her destination along a busy road.
Sheikh has since apologized for his remarks, but drew more criticism for not appearing before the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights after being directed to do so.
The case has seen anger across the country and has brought sexual violence against women to national headlines.
A stunned nation took to the streets in a nationwide protest, with participating placards appealing to hang the rapists. The protesters also demanded reforms in law enforcement agencies and judicial systems dealing with such cases.
In a television interview on Monday, the Prime Minister said that he had discussed sentencing options with his cabinet for such cases.
“I think they (the convicts) should be hanged at a public crossroads. The rapists and molesters of children should be hanged in public. You don’t even know the actual figures, because it’s an under report. People do not report it because of fear. Or ashamed, women feel ashamed, no one wants to speak. ”
Khan acknowledged that publicly hanging may not be internationally acceptable and could affect Pakistan’s position in trade relations with the European Union. He suggested instead that sex offenders “undergo chemical castration, or have surgeries performed so that they can do nothing in the future.”
The main culprit in the case has been arrested so far, but three of his associates have been detained, according to police officials. The investigation is on.
Khan has directed his cabinet to initiate the process of introducing new laws regarding rape and child sexual abuse. On the floor of the National Assembly today, Khan said that his cabinet is working on introducing new measures so that sex offenders realize that it will have serious consequences
For their crimes.
He said that his government is trying to bring a database and policy in which all sex offenders will be registered and tracked. He said the main suspect in the motorway rape case has been identified by law enforcement as a repeat offender who has previously been accused of gang rape.
Khan acknowledged that rape convicts are not easy to obtain because the evidence required by law is too complex and witnesses or victims are often reluctant to testify in court. He said his cabinet was looking into the possibility of victims not being required to face their attackers.