Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal cabinet has approved, in principle, on Tuesday approved a law regarding the chemical castration of rape convicts, known as the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance and Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, confirmed Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz said this while addressing a joint press conference with Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar after the federal cabinet meeting.
While some federal ministers recommended that public hangings also be used as a punishment, the premier said that castration would be a start to dealing with those that threaten women in the country.
“We need to ensure a safe environment for our citizens,” he said. The matter was discussed during a cabinet meeting wherein a draft on the anti-rape ordinance was presented.
The premier stressed that this was a serious issue and that there should be no delay. He added that the legislation must be strict and transparent in its enforcement.
Shibli Faraz said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Law Ministry to finalise provisions of the proposed ordinance. He said that act of gang-rape has also been inserted in the proposed law in which harsh punishments, including the death penalty, have been suggested to give exemplary sentences to the offenders of rape. He said the law will be a deterrent against incidents of rape.
Faraz said that the cabinet approved in principle the establishment of the Special Technology Zones Authority to promote technology in the country. He said that special technology zones will be set up initially in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Haripur. The cabinet also approved the establishment of these zones in Karachi and Quetta.
He said that the Economic Affairs Division informed the cabinet that at present the loan repayment of $1.7 billion to $2 billion during the period from May to December 2020 has been extended by the G-20 countries. The cabinet authorised the secretary Economic Affairs Division to enter into agreements for debt rescheduling with 16 G-20 countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said the government imported around 125,000 tons of sugar due to which a decline of Rs10 to Rs12 per kilogram at the ex-mill price of the commodity has been witnessed in the last ten days.
He said the imported sugar is being provided at the rate of around Rs81 per kilogram at facilitation centres in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, whereas the commodity is available at 4,000 outlets of the Utility Stores Corporation across Pakistan at Rs68 per kilogram.
He said that it is historic that the sugar crushing season has begun in time. The effect will reflect on the retail market as well. He added that the government constituted sugar reforms commission is working towards a sustainable policy to keep the essential commodity prices stable in the future as well.
Reforms commission is working with both parties, the millers and farmers, to layout terms that are not exploitative to either party.
Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar said that prices of wheat flour have been showing a declining trend for the last ten days bringing down prices of the commodity from Rs2,400 to Rs2,200 per 40 kilograms. He said this year there was a shortage of wheat production in the country due to bad weather conditions, which resulted in a deficiency of 2.2 million metric tons, which is being fulfilled by importing wheat from other countries.
He said the government has also increased the support price for wheat and fixed the new rate at Rs1,650 per 40 kilograms to give due return to farmers as well.
To a question, Shibli Faraz said that the government is working on election reforms and those who are against it will be exposed. Expressing gratitude to the people of Gilgit Baltistan for supporting PTI in recent elections, he said that the people of the region will get a bright future under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also condemned the recent actions of PPP in GB to foster public unrest.
To another question, the minister said reforms are essential to reduce the losses of national institutions. He said that it is necessary to expedite administrative reforms and to ensure efficient utilization of all available resources in a transparent manner.