Lawmakers urge government to enact legislation awarding strict punishment to culprits
Senators, regardless of political affiliation, took the floor of the House on Tuesday to strongly denounce the gang-rape of a woman on the Sialkot-Lahore Motorway and demand legislation to aware strict punishment to anyone involved in such barbaric acts.
Among the senators who urged the government to take steps to avert such ghastly incidents in future were Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Pervez Rashid, Asif Kirmani, and Mushahidullah Khan; the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani; the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Mohsin Aziz; the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Barrister Saif; and Aurangzeb Khan.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken strict notice of the motorway rape incident, adding that all those involved in such despicable acts must be given strict punishment. He urged the Senate to support a measure introduced by him in the National Assembly to award public hangings for rapists—though P.M. Khan has already said that this would ruin Pakistan’s international reputation and could result in a loss of GSP+ status from the European Union.
Senator Rehman, meanwhile, strongly criticized the government’s calls for public hanging, saying it was not the solution. She said the government needed to tackle the mindset that produces rapists and not take populist actions that have little impact on deterrence.
Minister of State Khan also told the House that the federal government was providing funds for the construction of 60 small, medium and large dam projects across Pakistan. He said 17 of these projects would be completed within the current fiscal year.
Khan said work had already started on the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams, adding this would greatly enhance the country’s water storage capacity. He said the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was also planning to construct several new dams, including the Kurram Tangi Dam Stage-11 and Sindh Barrage, to cope with the looming issue of water shortage.
The minister of state said the provinces were being provided their share of water per the Water Accord of 1991. He said that if the country faced any water shortage, it would be equally shared between all provinces.
To a question, Khan stressed that the government had not yet taken any decision on the construction of the Kalabagh Dam, adding that all the provincial governments would be taken on board on the construction of water reservoirs.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said that the Kalabagh Dam could not be constructed without consensus amongst all provinces.
Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry also informed the Senate that 500 technology-based farms of various sizes would be established across Pakistan to strengthen the country’s agriculture sector on modern lines.
Speaking during Question House, Chaudhry said the technology-based practices at these farms would help optimize per acre yield, adding that this would revolutionize the lives of small farmers.
Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, meanwhile, informed the House that delimitation of constituencies had been nearly completed in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the purpose of local government elections.