Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday suggested that convicted rapists be subjected to surgical castration when asked about the recent gang rape of a woman on a motorway.
Two gunmen raped a woman on a deserted highway after her car ran out of gas late last night near the town of Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. Police said she had locked the car doors and called for help, but the attackers broke a window and pulled her out, where they raped her in front of her children.
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A suspect whom police identified as Shafqat Ali was arrested on Monday. The other suspect, Abid Malhi, remains on the run.
Khan said in an interview with local TV station 99 NEWS that Malhi was involved in another gang rape in 201
“This is how first degree, second degree, third degree murder, this [rape] must be classified in the same way and when there is a first degree [rape]castrates them, ”Khan said. “Use them and make them unable to do this.”
According to Reuters, Khan first proposed public executions when he spoke to the station, but said officials told him the punishment could jeopardize Pakistan’s preferential trade status granted by the European Union.
Khan’s comments come as news of the attack sent shock waves across Pakistan. Many protesters took to the streets in several cities, including Islamabad and Karachi, condemning attacks on women.
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Gang rape is rare in Pakistan, although sexual harassment and violence against women are often reported. Nearly 1,000 women are killed each year in Pakistan in so-called “honor killings” for alleged violations of conservative norms of love and marriage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.