Pakistan vote on chemical castration passes

Image copyright EPA Image caption The bill had been opposed by religious groups

The Pakistani Senate has passed an anti-rape bill which allows the practice of chemical castration.

It follows massive opposition from Islamist groups which threatened to derail a vote over the bill that was defeated in the last session.

The bill ensures “rigorous and severe punishment for all those involved in rape”, said the Speaker.

Pakistan has a bill to criminalise rape and proposes the death penalty for rapists.

Gender violence is serious issue, says the UN’s development arm, but it urged Pakistan to “emphasise real life consequences of violence against women”.

Pakistan ratified a United Nations resolution in 2010 on violence against women, which calls for the passing of laws to criminalise rape and implement a nationwide campaign against domestic violence.

During the last session in November, a bill on “property rights” was passed.

During his speech, the Speaker, Asad Qaiser, said: “What is a woman’s honour when she can be violated under the nose of the very guardians who are supposed to protect her?

“Rape is not something brought by an intruder to a house, but by the eyes of family and guardians. When such a situation arises, the right to life is even more important.”

The BBC’s Ben Ryan in Islamabad says sexual violence in Pakistan is not as widespread as in some parts of the world.

Nonetheless, it remains a huge problem, especially in the cases of honour killings.

The head of the Federal Shariat Court told the country’s president in October that the present judiciary had rejected the punishment of thousands of honour killing cases as “unnecessary”.

Over the last decade, more than 3,000 deaths have been reported, but only a small proportion have been investigated and a number have been resolved through reconciliation.

So, the question is, if the victim has committed adultery – which is illegal in Pakistan – who decides whether she should be punished or not?

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