Under the Chairmanship of Senator Syed Ali Zafar, Senate Standing Committee on Law & Justice on Wednesday held another round of discussion on the Anti-Rape Laws passed by the Parliament recently.
In the previous meeting Senator Ali Zafar had emphasized that the Law & Justice Committee has taken upon itself to ensure effective implementation of the Anti-Rape Laws and there will be no compromise or tolerance for negligence. Today, all the Provincial and Capital Territory IGs, including Interior Secretaries and Home Secretaries, attended the meeting to apprise the Committee on the steps taken by the Police and Federal/Provincial authorities under the new Anti-Rape laws.
Senator Ali Zafar opened the discussion by making a statement that “It is the constitutional, legal, moral, ethical and fundamental duty of the State to provide security, safety and protection to all its citizens and particularly to those who are most vulnerable like women and children.” He emphasized that if women and children are afraid of going out freely then obviously the state is not fulfilling the vision of an Islamic state. He pointed out that instances of rapes of women and children continue to increase and women are publicly harassed and molested. He stated further that the Committee’s desire was to obtain first-hand information of the complications which are being faced by the law enforcement agencies in implementing the laws and that the Committee would appreciate practical suggestions with the objective of improving the law and the processes of investigation and prosecution of rape cases.
Chairman of the Committee pointed out that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and children are protected against such a heinous crime. He said that the Committee has taken upon itself that culprits involved in sexual crimes should immediately be arrested, investigated, prosecuted, tried and then sentenced with the gravest and exemplary punishments so that a deterrent is placed against this callous crime.
Secretary Law briefed the Committee on the various steps they had taken in compliance with the Anti-Rape Laws. IGs representing the Provinces/ICT gave details of the cases which are being investigated since the promulgation of the Anti-Rape Law. The largest number of cases were in Punjab which had more than thousand cases under investigation currently. Sindh has 374 cases, KPK has 100 while ICT has 19 ongoing rape cases under investigation. The law has not yet been implemented in Balochistan as notifications are awaited.
The Secretary Interior and Home Secretaries gave their suggestions and pointed out the hurdles in the implementation of the laws which required to be rectified. The Committee was concerned with the fact that although the law provide for witness protection, yet no steps were envisaged to be taken under it. The Committee has called upon the Interior Secretary and Home Secretary as well as the Law Secretary to come up with a plan regarding witness protection.
The Chairman pointed out that even if the cases are investigated and prosecuted properly, they will fail in trial because the witnesses and victims would be forced to comprise either by force, influence or through settlements against monetary benefits. “Suggestions must be made to counteract this menace”, advised Senator Ali Zafar.
The Committee also recommended to the Federal/Provincial Governments to set up forensic laboratories in all centers including the facility of polygraph test without which criminal justice system cannot function anymore in this day and age. Committee meeting was attended by Senators, Manzoor Kakar, Kamran Murtaza, Walid Iqbal and Syed Shibli Faraz.