Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has proposed harsher punishments for those involved in sex crimes, but human rights groups have expressed reservations.

Haris Khaliq, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has said that the police and justice departments should be restructured if sexual violence, sexual abuse and gang rape are to be eradicated from the society. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that those involved in ending sexual violence in society should be given the harshest punishments. “Such criminals should be hanged in public ,” he said.

In an interview to a local news channel, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke on the topic of rape, which is currently the focus of attention of the entire Pakistani society. The recent incident of a woman being sexually assaulted on a motorway near Lahore a few days ago has sparked a wave of outrage across the country.

Imran Khan said that the incident of gang rape of a woman on the motorway “has shaken the whole nation, because it could have happened to anyone’s sister or daughter.” The prime minister said in an interview that he was shocked to learn from the police that “sex crimes” had risen sharply in the country. The Pakistani Prime Minister spoke of giving exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of sexual crimes. He said that in his opinion the punishment for such criminals should be ‘public execution’. Imran Khan, however, said that “the punishment of hanging at the intersection should be reserved for the perpetrators of sexual abuse of women and children.”     

Haris Khaliq said, “The implementation of the harshest punishment in Pakistan is difficult because the police and the judiciary are not credible. In such a situation, how is any inevitable punishment possible? Therefore, instead of emphasizing what should be the punishment for the offender or individual, steps should be taken to prevent the commission of such crimes. As Prime Minister, he may propose harsher punishments as a populist rhetoric to quell the current fire of public sentiment, but that is not the answer. 

Harris Khaliq, Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, called for consideration of the social causes of all such crimes, including adultery, gang rape and sexual assault, and said that eradicating them was the greatest need of the hour. He termed the ‘Offenders Register’ as very important for all types of crimes so that there is a record of these crimes. For this, the police and the judicial system need to be restructured.

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