Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for rapists and child molesters to be publicly hanged or castrated after a mother was raped by two men, numerous sources reported.
The attack garnered national attention and protests after the woman was raped by two men when she ran out of gas and her car broke down on a highway outside of Lahore, according to CBS News. While waiting for police to arrive to help her, the two men allegedly raped and robbed her, officials said according to CNN.
Imran Khan Govt wants to send a clear message to society & world at large that it’s serious in fighting the scourge of gang rapes & pedophilia; we withheld this comment for several hours & are releasing it after we ascertained that it’s not said just in anger but means business! pic.twitter.com/Nq2IDo071I
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) September 14, 2020
Police arrested three men, including one of the alleged rapists, but the mastermind of the group reportedly remains at large after the attack Sept. 10. The investigation is ongoing.
In a Monday television interview, Khan said that he had discussed punishments with his cabinet for cases involving rape and child sexual abuse, which include public hanging or castration, according to CBS News.
“I think he (the culprit) should be hanged in a public square. Rapists and child molesters should undergo public hanging. You do not know the real statistics as well, because it’s under-reported. People do not report it as they are scared or ashamed, women are ashamed, no one wants to speak,” he said.
The prime minister acknowledged that the international community would likely not accept public hanging, and it could affect Pakistan’s trade relations with the European Union. Instead of public hanging, however, Khan suggetsed that sex offenders should instead be punished with “chemical castration, or surgery be performed so they cannot do anything in future.” (RELATED: Human Traffickers, Corrupt Clergy Target Pakistani Christian Girls For Chinese Grooms)
Khan said his cabinet is working to introduce new measures to signal to sex offenders that their crimes will be seriously punished. One of the measures is introducing a database and police where all sex criminals will be registered and tracked, according to CBS.
The rape of the woman in Lahore along with the rape of a 5-year-old girl in southern Pakistan, who was also hit on the head and set on fire, prompted protests in the country, which critics have said has a toxic culture surrounding sexual assault and hold abuse, according to the New York Times.
Victims are often treated as criminals or blamed for the assaults. One official in Pakistan’s National Assembly, Mehnaz Akber Azid, told the Times that most child rape and abuse victims come from small towns and villages and their cases rarely receive attention, while perpatrators are often quietly released.
“You are signaling to these people, the rapists, that ‘It’s OK, you can continue doing what you’re doing and there will be a way out, even if you’re arrested,’” she said.