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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court dismissed the bail petition of Muhammad Aamar allegedly involved in rape case and restrained the print and electronic media, and the V-loggers from publishing or broadcasting anything that might reveal the identities of victims or their families.

The court also asked the law enforcement agencies to proceed against the offenders. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) shall also play its due role in curbing the violations, the court added.

The court also asked the trial courts to protect the identity of victims of sexual violence. The trial courts should identify them by their acronyms rather than their full name, the court said, and directed the district and sessions judges should ensure compliance with this direction.

The court also noted that the President of Pakistan assented to Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act, 2021, on December 01, 2021, and it was published in the Official Gazette on December 04, 2021.

The court said the ministry of law and justice took several months to issue the notifications for establishing the Anti-Rape Crisis Cell (ACC), Special Sexual Offences Units (SSOIUs) and the Special Courts.

The Prime Minister has not set up the Fund envisaged in section 20 of the Act, and the ministry of law and justice has not framed the rules necessary for implementing the Act. Furthermore, the Special Committee under Section 15, which plays a crucial role, has not been constituted.

The court, therefore, directed the federal government to review the steps taken to implement the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act, 2021, and ensure that the requisite systems are in place within 30 days, including the creation of the Fund under section 20 to achieve the Act’s objective.

The court further directed the Ministry of Law and Justice to appoint a special committee in terms of Section 15 within the next 30 days which shall formulate recommendations for carrying out the purposes of the Act and submit them to the ministry within two months of its appointment. The ministry shall then make the rules under Section 19, the court added.

The court also directed the federal and the Punjab governments to give publicity to the rights granted to the victims of sexual violence under the Act through print and electronic media. The court directed the trial court to expeditiously proceed with the petitioner’s matter and decide it within four months.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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