By Umar Farooq
Islamabad (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said he wanted convicted rapists to be publicly executed or chemically castrated, responding to a question about the rape of a woman on a highway last week that sparked a outcry in the South Asian nation.
Last week, a mother of two driving on a main highway near Lahore was dragged out of her car and raped by two men at gunpoint – one of whom was arrested by police on Monday.
Khan said he believed the culprits should be hanged publicly, but added officials had informed him that such an act could endanger a preferential trade status granted to Pakistan by the European Union (EU).
The EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP-plus) status, granted to Pakistan in 2014, is conditional on compliance with international conventions, such as human rights.
However, Khan said he was also studying the option of chemical castration instead.
“The way there is first degree murder, second degree, third degree [rape] must be graded in the same way, and when there is a first degree [rape], castrate them. Exploit them and prevent them from doing it, ”Khan said in an interview with a Pakistani news channel.
Khan’s remarks came as Pakistani officials announced that one of the two main suspects in the highway rape case had been arrested and admitted to the crime. Officials said they also had a positive DNA match. The search for the second suspect is still ongoing.
Police recovered DNA samples from the site and used GPS data from cell phone networks to identify people who were at the site when the attack occurred.
The shocking assault has sparked protests across the country and calls for the resignation of officials and the public hanging of rapists in Pakistan.
Last February, lawmakers introduced legislation for the public hanging of those convicted of child sexual abuse and murder, but the law was not passed.
(Reporting by Umar Farooq; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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