A Senate panel on Sep 28 passed a bill by majority vote with some amendments for publicly hanging rapists, despite opposition from the PPP, interior and foreign affairs ministries.
The bill, proposed by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami, aims to amend sections 375, 375A, and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Schedule-II of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrCP).
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz, discussed these amendments to remove section D and introduce public hangings for rapists. The demand for public hangings gained momentum following the gang-rape incident on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in September 2020.
Senator Sherry Rehman of PPP strongly opposed public hangings, preferring life sentences due to flawed verdicts and the lack of evidence linking deterrence to public executions. She emphasised that civilised societies have largely abolished executions as punishment.
Senator Rehman questioned the effectiveness and ethical implications of the proposed amendments, citing past use of capital punishment during Gen Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship. She argued that public hangings would not deter crime but increase societal brutality, especially among marginalised groups.
The committee also approved the “Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023”, moved by Senator Mumtaz Zehri, focusing on proper treatment and medical examination reports for rape victims through public and private hospitals.
They addressed the issue of private jails and passed the “Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023”, co-sponsored by Senators Mushtaq Ahmed and Samina Mumtaz Zehri to deter false imprisonment within residences.
Other bills were discussed during the session, including one temporarily rejected due to its sub judice status, and another was rejected.
The committee also passed the “Rain Water Harvesting Facility in Urban Areas, Bill 2023,” to efficiently utilise rainwater, supported by CDA representatives.
Senator Irfan Siddiqui raised concerns about a missing bill for almost 15 months and decided to request a detailed report on the matter from relevant officials.
The meeting was attended by various senators, including Saifullah Abro, Samina Mumtaz Zehri, and Sherry Rehman, as well as bill movers Senator Mushtaq Ahmed and Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan, along with government representatives.