Hanging is not the solution

Open almost any newspaper or periodical or tune to any TV channel and there will be a report of a child raped and/or murdered or tortured whilst in domestic service. Crimes against children are frontpage news every day and in the last 48 hours the beating to death of a boy who was tardy with his studies allegedly by a cleric has again focused the national eye on what to do with the men that commit these crimes. There have been strident calls for public lynching of the murderers and rapists and now there are moves in the Senate towards discussion of sentencing in cases involving kidnap, rape and murder of children. The Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee is PPP Senator Rehman Malik and he has strongly supported the hanging of those who commit such crimes. Pakistan currently has a moratorium on the death penalty other than those sentences handed down by Anti-Terrorism Courts.

Senator Malik then tabled a resolution that he said will lead to the drafting of a bill to make amendments to existing law. Senator Abbasi opposed, saying that the execution of death sentences can be done by amending existing law and new legislation was not needed. The interior ministry was directed to advise on whether public execution is permitted simply by making an amendment.

There has to be a concern that the vigilantism of the streets has found its way into the legislature. Emotive as these dreadful crimes are punishing those that commit them with the death penalty is not the way to go. These murderers and rapists are not going to be deterred by the threat of their own death. They are driven by compulsions that are not susceptible to diversion and there is not a shred of evidence anywhere in the world that this would be the case. Public execution whether by hanging or by yet more barbarous means is a step back into the darkness, a surrender to populism and elected representatives need to take a pull away from the brink, and they need to do that, unequivocally, immediately.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1616243/6-hanging-not-solution/