ISLAMABAD: A Senate Standing Committee has proposed an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code, which suggests that any person involved in kidnapping or abduction of children below the age of 14 should be hanged in public.
The meeting, held at the Parliament House on Monday, was chaired by Senator Rehman Malik. The panel also passed a resolution condemning the incidents of rape in Kasur and Mardan.
The Senate committee was informed by senior officials of the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) that no headway was made in the cases of abduction, rape and murder of girls from the two cities.
Malik moved an amendment in the committee to amend the section 364A of PPC 1860, where any person involved in kidnapping and abduction of child below the age of 14 should be punished with death by hanging in public, or sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment.
Panel members Senator Javed Abbasi and Senator Talha Mahmood stated that the opinion of the interior ministry should be sought about the law before making any changes to it.
“We will make it happen,” Rehman Malik later told The Express Tribune.
Punjab Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abubakar Khuda Baksh told the committee that since October 2017, about 696 DNA tests had been conducted of suspects in the Kasur incident.
“Since 2015, 11 similar cases of rape and murder of girls have been reported and all are in age bracket of 5-10,” he said.
“I am not sure about how long the inquiry might take. It can take days, or even months,” DIG Baksh told the committee.
The remark drew the ire of the senators, especially Senator Mashhadi, who admonished the state, police and the intelligence agencies, stating, “They are a failure at every level.”
The police official told the panel that each DNA test costs the government Rs60,000 to Rs70,000.
Senator Malik suggested that the ministry should look into the matter of making DNA compulsory in national identification cards to make headway in such cases easier.
Father of the girl who was murdered in Kasur also appeared before the committee, and said that the police was lethargic in pursuing the case.
He also shared with the committee that a similar incident, a day after his daughter’s death, happened in an area adjacent to his neighbourhood, but accused the police of covering up the incident.
Mardan DIG, appearing before the Senate committee, said the postmortem report in the rape and murder of a girl in his area suggested death due to strangulation. The chairperson of the committee asked the DIG if the report also suggested sexual abuse.
The DIG replied that there were signs pointing towards it, but they were looking into every aspect of the matter, as it could be personal enmity or an act of avenge.
“I reject this report and want the person who prepared the report here in the next meeting,” Malik stated curtly.
The house formulated a committee headed by Senator Shahi Syed that would submit a report to the panel in 15 days about both incidents, including suggestions from the civil society about how to improve the handling of rape cases.
This committee also demanded of the government to immediately announce National Commission on Rights of Children Pakistan (NCRCP) to address the issue of child abuse at all levels, and to adopt strong measures to create deterrents in order to stop this heinous crime in the country.
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