Lawmakers propose capital punishment for rapists

KARACHI: Four separate resolutions were moved in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday, condemning the Kasur incident and demanding the culprits be arrested and awarded capital punishment.

All four resolutions were moved by female lawmakers – Khairunisa Mughal of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Heer Ismail Soho of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Nusrat Seher Abbasi of Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) and Dr Seema Zia of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The members belonging to the opposition and treasury benches spent the entire day expressing grief and sorrow over the Kasur incident in which an eight-year-old girl, Zainab, was raped and killed.

“In the same area 12 [other] girls have already been raped but no one took it seriously. If the government had given strict punishment to culprits in earlier cases, this latest incident could have been prevented,” said Abbasi. “These kinds of incidents are not only confined to Punjab many girls in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan also face the same situation,” she lamented, adding that laws are only available on paper and no one implements them. She criticised the successive judiciaries and other institutions questioned why the law was silent on the issue. “Let’s [pass a] new law suggesting capital punishment in rape cases,” she proposed.

Kasur: A timeline of tears shed and lives lost over the years

Mughal raised the issue of the shocking videos that went viral in 2015 in which around 280 children were forced to perform sexual acts. “No one has any updates in this case and suddenly the case of Zainab has emerged in front of us,” she said, adding that instead of giving relief to the victim’s family, police have killed two people in Kasur. “Recently, the Iranian government publicly hung a rapist. The same punishment should be given to culprit involved in Zainab’s case,” she proposed.

Dr Zia held the incumbent Punjab government responsible for the incident. “Despite repeated cases, why has the government failed to control incidents [of rape?]” she asked, adding that our institutions have been ruined and our police are politicised. “The negligence of the state toward rape cases can be gauged from the fact that the police don’t lodge FIRs,” she lamented.

MQM’s Zafar Kamali spoke about awareness at school-level, with a mobilisation campaign for society to prevent such incidents. Sumeta Afzal Syed, Rana Absar of MQM, Saira Shahliani, Nasir Shah of PPP and Sorath Thebo of PML-N also spoke on the occasion. Later, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza clubbed all the resolutions into one and moved it in the House. “This House condemns the recent murder and rape of eight-year-old Zainab in Kasur and expresses its condolences and sympathies to the grieved family. The heinous crime committed against Zainab is a lesson for our society that all of us must do better to protect the children of this country from these predators. This House demands that all law enforcement agencies make serious efforts to apprehend the perpetrator and bring him to justice.”

After an emotionally wrenching session, Raza adjourned the session till Friday.

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