ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday referred the bill seeking public hanging for a person accused of kidnapping a person below the age of 14 to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
The bill entitled the ‘Criminal Law Amendment Act 2018’ seeks an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code Act’s Section 364-A on the kidnapping or abduction of a person under the age of 14.
CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz told The Express Tribune a meeting of the CII members is scheduled for February 8 in which the item has been placed on top of the agenda.
“After thorough deliberation with all the CII members, belonging to various schools of thought, the CII will give its view on public execution,” said the chairman.
The move to bring public execution under law came after Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during a press conference held soon after the arrest of Zainab’s murderer, announced public execution as a punishment for the culprit who brutally raped and murdered seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur earlier this month.
After the incident, people from all walks of life called for a public execution, especially on social media. They demanded that the government publicly execute such people who brutally rape and murder children. They were of the view that this kind of punishment will discourage such inhumane acts.
Following the calls, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik proposed an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to ‘publicly hang’ convicts found guilty of kidnapping, murdering or raping children under 14 years of age on January 22.
It has been proposed to add words ‘by hanging publicly’ at the end after the punishment, instead of death or imprisonment for life.
On the other hand, Chairman National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chohan said, “NCHR is of the view that this particular private bill if passed will violate Article 6 & 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 15 of the Convention against Torture and Pakistan’s commitment to review the law carrying death penalty in accordance with ratified international conventions as indicated in the recent Universal Periodic Review -2017.”
He further said that the bill will also weaken the national interest of Pakistan under GSP+, as the EU commission in its second biannual GSP+ report has raised serious concern over the use of the death penalty. It has urged the government to review the law to reduce the number of crimes carrying death penalty in Pakistan.
The NCHR chairman believes that the proposed method of execution is cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment and punishment and is also a violation of General Comment No20 of the UN Human Rights Committee.
“The purpose stated in the bill is that ‘fear of punishment could prevent others from committing similar crime’. But preventing future offenses isn’t the only concern. Therefore the Commission believes in reformation as the world has deterrence to reformation,” he said.
He concluded that the tragic events surrounding Zainab’s death pushed the country to work for a better state of affairs for the country’s children.
“It’s high time that we prioritise the protection of our children in all legal and policy agendas while implementing the already existing child safeguarding mechanism,” he concluded.
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