Critical Analysis of Rape Laws in Pakistan: Still Long Road to Seek Justice
AbstractRape is among the most committed felonies in Pakistan and is counted among the dismal league of such countries which have a daunting number of reported and unreported incidents of sexual crimes. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)’s recent report, a minimum of 11 rape cases are reported daily and more than 22,000 were reported in the last six years, i.e., 2015-2021. Hudood Ordinance, 1979 was the first law to recognize Rape as an offence and later, laws have kept evolving. Lately, the Government of Pakistan, considering the growing inadequacy of the prevalent laws to deal with the raging situation, has enacted The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021 (the Act) which consolidated the previously scattered rape laws in the country. Although being the best effort, so far, to redress the rape victims, unfortunately, this Act is not only riddled with myriad of substantive and procedural flaws but is also facing enormous difficulties in implementation process. Lack of training of already burdened Police & Prosecution departments, no traces of establishment of Anti-rape crisis cells (ARCCs) and formation of Special Investigation Officers and Joint Investigation Teams yet to aid the victim, serious dearth of resources required to implement the Act, creation of multiple forums rather than building on the existing legal infrastructure and no mention of sexual molestation in the Act are to name a few. This paper shall discuss the remedies to overcome the shortcomings in substantive and procedural laws as well as in the implementation process of the Act.
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