ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel has proposed public hanging of child kidnappers, stipulating an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to allow for this punishment to a criminal convicted of abduction of children below the age of 14 years.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Monday also passed a resolution, condemning the recent incidents of children’s abduction, rape and murder in Punjab’s Kasur and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Mardan districts.
Chairing the meeting, Senator Rehman Malik moved the amendment in the section 364A of the PPC, 1860 where any person involved in kidnapping and abduction of a child below the age of 14 would be punished with death by hanging in public, or be awarded rigorous life imprisonment.
The committee members – especially Senator Javed Abbasi and Senator Talha Mahmood – however, suggested seeking the Interior Ministry’s stance on the amendment. Later, the secretary interior was asked to submit a reply regarding the amendment in its next meeting.
“We will insha Allah make it [this amendment] happen,” Malik later told The Express Tribune.
Earlier, the committee was also informed by the senior officials of the Punjab and the K-P that no headway had been made into abduction, rape and murder of two children from Kasur and Mardan.
Punjab Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh told the committee that since October 2017 about 696 DNA tests had been conducted of suspects. “Since 2015 about 11 similar cases of rape and murder of minor girls have been reported. All girls were in the age bracket of 5-10,” he said.
However, the police official said he could not tell how long it would take to nab the culprits. This invited ire of the committee members especially Tahir Hussain Mashhadi who admonished the government, the police and intelligence agencies for their ‘failure at every level’.
Bukhsh told the panel that each DNA test costs Rs60,000 to Rs70,000. The chairperson suggested that the ministry should look into the matter of making the DNA test compulsory for making the computerised national identification cards (CNICs) to facilitate investigation in such cases.
Father of Zainab, the 7-year-old girl from Kasur, also appeared before the committee and said the police was lethargic in pursuing the case right after the incident till recovery of her body. He claimed that a day after his daughter’s death a similar incident happened in Kasur but police covered up that crime.
Appearing before the panel, Mardan DIG said postmortem report of the four-year-old little girl – whose body was found last week – suggested death by strangulation. Chairperson of the committee asked if the report also hinted at a sexual abuse.
The DIG said there were signs of sexual abuse but the police were looking into every aspect of the matter as it could be result of personal enmity or an act of avenge. “I reject this report and want the person who prepared the report here in next meeting,” Malik said.
The house later formulated a committee to be headed by Senator Shahi Syed that would submit a report on both of these incidents in 15 days. It will also include suggestions from civil society how to stop recurrence of such cases in future.
This committee also demanded of the government to immediately announce the National Commission on Rights of Children Pakistan (NCRCP) to address the issue of child abuse at all level and to adopt strong measures to create deterrent to stop this heinous crime of child abuse in all over country.