ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Thursday passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015 aimed at protecting children from cruel treatment.
The salient features if the proposed Act included the minimum age of criminal responsibility has been raised from seven to 10 years and the upper age limit from 12-14 years, protection of children from cruel treatment, criminalises child pornography and proposes punishments.
The act of exposing children to obscene material has been criminalised with punishment. The law will also provide punishment for internal trafficking of humans. Minister for Law and Justice Pervaiz Rashid piloted the Bill to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 in the House.
Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Nafeesa Shah, Shahzia Marri and Dr Azra Fazal said the upper age limit should be revisited and it should be 16 years instead of 14 years.
Mehmood Khan Achakazi was of the view that “we must be vigilant while passing such legislation.” He suggested that any abuse to any age should be incorporated. The grownup may also face such ugly situation, he added.
Pervaiz Rashid said the Bill was unanimously passed by the standing committee after thorough deliberations. Every party has representation in the committee, he said and added that the Bill should be passed.
He pointed there was already law to punish children aged above 16 years.
The minister said the Bill would help protect the children against any cruel act. New sections 292 A, 292 B and 292 C, 328 A, 369 A, 377 A and 377 B had been incorporated in Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
The statement and object of the Bill says that the amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure have been proposed while keeping in mind the international obligations and domestic realities. Pakistan ratified the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and is under obligation to implement its provision by harmonising polices, legislations, programmes, plans of action with it and report progress to the UN committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva after every five years.
To undertake this task, existing laws are required to be harmonised with the UNCRC to effectively initiate requisite actions for meeting the standards set forth under the UNCRC.
The provisions provided in the criminal law statutes fail to cover number of very serious offence against the person or a child like; child pornography, exposure to seduction, abuse , cruelty to a child and trafficking in human beings within Pakistan.
KBD VITAL FOR NATIONAL ECONOMY, NA TOLD
The government told the National Assembly yesterday that construction of the controversial Kala Bagh Dam can be implemented only after achieving national consensus saying the reservoir carried vital importance for the national economy.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Muhammad Asif while responding to a question put to the house by a woman lawmaker said construction of the dam was held due to the grave differences among the provinces.
The minister said WAPDA has already completed its detailed engineering design and tender documents since 1988.
He said three provinces — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan — have stopped kicking off work on the project after bringing resolutions from the respective provincial assemblies against construction of the reservoir.
The minister said there was a need to achieve consensus on the project as Pakistan direly needed efficient water management and supply of cheap electricity.
“Construction work on the project can only be started after achieving national consensus and decision by the government. There can be no two opinions for not constructing Kalabagh Dam,” the minister said. Responding to another question, he said that the country was still short of energy as the demand for electricity continued to snowball keeping in view the dependency of consumers on energy.
The house was informed that the total generation of electricity in the country at present stood at 9,253 megawatts per day against the demand of 12,434 megawatts. It means that there is a shortfall of 3181 megawatts at present.
Majority of the lawmakers yesterday raised queries about water and power in the country as the minister painted a bleak future going by the written answers.
MNA Nighat Parveen Mir asked about the construction of Bunji hydropower project seeking reply from the ministry as to why the completion of the project has witnessed so inordinate delay.
The minister said that the PC-I in this regard amounting to Rs1328,907 million was submitted to the Ministry of Water and Power on August 30, 2013 which was forwarded to the Planning Commission on June 17, 2014. Despite that the consumers have been crying for electricity, the minister informed the house that the Planning Commission has not yet approved the PC-I of the dam adding that construction of the Bunji Hydropower Project will start after approval of the PC-I.
The minister, however, had some glad tidings for the residents of Karachi saying the Karachi Electric has increased power generation capacity. Since 2009, KE has enhanced the generation capacity by 1,057 MW. He said addition of 47 MW through conversion of existing fully operational 180 MW GE JB to combined cycle power plants, out of which 27 MW has already been added into the system, whereas the remaining 20 MW will be added soon into the system in near future.
To another question, the minister said PC-I of Diamer Basha Dam Project amounting to Rs894,257 million with F.E.C Rs312,943 million was approved by the government on August 20, 2009.
Sharing details of the project, he said Rs 43,477 million have been spent on the project till October 31, 2015 adding that WAPDA and the federal government were vigorously approaching the Asian Development Bank (ADB), USAID, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Kuwait Fund for arrangement of finances.