Written by Staff Writer at CNN
By Idil Sukanbar, CNN
A Pakistani female lawmaker has passed legislation allowing chemical castration of convicted rapists, a controversial move that critics contend will empower male rapists.
Sardar Safdar said the bill making the punishment available to men convicted of rape and sodomy would leave rapists “reduced to a state of substance,” targeting sexual violence, especially in rural areas.
This is not the first time a Pakistani legislature has included such a provision in laws.
In September last year, an anti-trafficking bill passed in Pakistan was criticized for sex slavery provisions similar to those in the new legislation.
Cabinet minister Khwaja Saad Rafique also said women were forced to comply with rape in Pakistani culture.
Sex slavery law criticized
Under the new laws, the mens’ behaviour towards a spouse, including demanding sexual favors, is a mitigating factor in the sexual assault court.
Under Pakistani rape laws, rapists are only sentenced to 25-year jail terms, with five years suspended, unless they are minors.
Rafique said he doesn’t believe people have the right to claim all women are raped.
“When someone gets married they sign (a) marriage pledge,” he said in an interview with CNN in September. “They have the right to use their rights and say it’s not true, but their right isn’t to cancel the agreement.”
The law will be effective from the date it is promulgated.
Related: Saudi Arabia outlaws ‘weird and evil’ female drivers
Human rights lawyer Malala Yousafzai was among those to oppose the new legislation.
Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, said “the Bill itself is the source of rape.”
Rape has now been criminalized by law worldwide, but the exception is Pakistan. Under its Islamic law, men can be punished with death sentences for committing certain heinous crimes, including murder, rape and apostasy.
Human rights advocates say men accused of rape will not be affected by the law.
Pakistan has ranked 117 out of 144 on the UN’s index of female economic empowerment. The country has 20.8% female lawmakers.