ISLAMABAD - Days after the heart-wrenching gang-rape incident at Lahore-Sialkot Motorway, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the rapists should be hanged publicly and they should be castrated through chemical process to set an example for others.

“I personally think paedophiles and rapists must be hanged publicly but I’m told that we have international repercussions”, Prime Minister said during an interview with a private TV channel.

“EU’s GSP status for trade with Pakistan will be affected by public hangings. Hence, I think chemical castration must be conducted on those criminals,” he explained.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the motorway rape had “shaken the entire nation” because the victim could have been anyone’s sister or daughter, adding that he was “shocked” to find out from police that sex crime in the country were rising greatly.

“They (rapists) should be given exemplary punishments. In my opinion, they should be hanged at the chowk (piazza),” he said, adding that this punishment should be reserved for rapists and those who abuse children. “Unfortunately, when we had the discussion, we were told it would not be internationally acceptable,” he said of public hangings. “They said the GSP-Plus trade status given to us by the European Union will be affected.”

He said another option was to “chemically or surgically castrate” rapists, according to the degree of the crime, “as is done by many countries”. Prime Minister Imran noted that the primary suspect in the motorway rape, Abid Ali, was previously involved in a gang-rape in 2013 as well. “We need fresh legislation to permanently sterilise such criminals,” he said.

The premier regretted that there was no registry of sex offenders in the country, which led to a convicted Paedophile from a European country entering Pakistan and sexually abusing children here.

He said sexual crimes should be fought by the entire society, and not just police. “World history tells when you increase Fahashi (vulgarity) in the society, two things happen: sex crimes increase and the family system breaks down,” he added. Citing an example, he said the divorce rate in England shot up to 70 per cent at present as vulgarity increased there.

Compared to the West, “Our family system is intact. We can fix our justice system and the institutions but if our family system breaks down, we will not be able to rebuild it,” Imran Khan emphasised, saying New Delhi too has become the “rape capital” of the world due to obscenity in Bollywood.

He said he had pushed for Turkish blockbuster Ertugrul to be broadcast on Pakistani television because he wanted to prove that Islamic and historical family programmes could be popular in the country too. To a question on PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s return, Imran Khan said the government will do its best to bring Nawaz Sharif back. “The opposition looted the country and then pronounced that the government had failed,” he said. “If Pakistan is blacklisted at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) then Pakistan’s economy will be destroyed due to inflation and a massive fall in Pakistani Rupee. The opposition considered blackmailing me in the FATF but I will not be blackmailed in any case,” he substantiated.