ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for public hangings and chemical castration of rapists as authorities reported arresting a second man in connection with the rape of a woman on a popular highway in Punjab province last week.
The woman was raped in front of her children after her car ran out of fuel on a motorway near the eastern city of Lahore.
The incident drew a number of protesters to the streets in several cities, including Islamabad and Karachi, denouncing attacks on women.
“They [rapists] should be given exemplary punishments. In my opinion, they should be hanged at the chowk [intersection],” said Khan.
“The way murders are graded as first degree, second degree and third degree, rape should also be graded this way, and the first grade rapists should be castrated and incapable completely.”
Last Thursday, police took 15 people for questioning.
On Sunday, a man was arrested but denied involvement in the crime. He remains in police custody but said he was wrongly named in the case because his sim card was being used by one of his friends, who later turned out to be one of the suspects.
On Monday, police said they arrested one of the two assailants suspected of carrying out the crime.
Provincial Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the man arrested on Monday, Shafqat Ali, has confessed to committing the crime.
“His DNA matches and he has also confessed to the crime. Our entire team continues to work towards the arrest of suspect Abid Ali and we expect him to be arrested soon,” said Buzdar.
Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh faced an angry backlash and calls for his resignation after the incident last week, after suggesting the rape was partially the victim’s fault.
Legal expert Osama Malik told the AFP news agency the rape conviction rate can be as low as 2 percent.
“This drops even lower in cases where a minor has been raped. That is one of the reasons that rape is rarely reported,” said Malik.
He also blamed social stigma attached to sex crimes and the “abhorrently misogynistic attitude” of many police officials for the underreporting of rape cases.