The National Assembly (NA) only yesterday passed a resolution that calls for public hanging of offenders for sexually abusing and murdering children. Once again, our legislators chose the easy way out for the rampant menace of child abuse, i.e., public hanging of the abusers. But easy solutions do not always prove to be the best.

Remember Javid Iqbal who had murdered at least one hundred children after abusing them? The court awarded him capital punishment in the strictest manner. Did that eradicate the menace of child abuse from society? No, that didn’t. Fast forward to Zainab’s case. Did the issue of child sexual abuse vanish into thin air with the uproar after the horrific murder of Zainab? No, it didn’t. After every such heinous crime the Pakistani public relies on emotions rather than rational faculties. This is the case with the resolution in question as well.

The fact that even some members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Shireen Mazari, opposed the resolution shows that even the government is divided on whether such punishment will ever be useful in curbing the menace of child sexual abuse. Shireen Mazari, the Human Rights Minister, says that it is not government-sponsored. Perhaps, she’s telling the truth.

However, the question worth asking is this: why do members of the ruling party act in an individual capacity and not consult the cabinet on such important issues that need thorough deliberations? Moreover, the mover of the resolution was not an ordinary legislator. Ali Muhammad Khan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, presented it. The opposition of at least two sitting ministers to the resolution suggests the lack of coordination and working relationship among the cabinet members.

Nevertheless, the passing of the said resolution is highly disappointing. Such frivolous and superficial changes will do little to fix the problem on the ground. Without increasing funding for policing or setting up better facilities, undetected child abuse will continue. This argument is corroborated by the fact that even after the introduction of the death penalty for raping a minor, the menace of child abuse did not subside. In fact, since then, the cases of child abuse have increased.

Returning to inhumane and brutal execution methods after becoming a signatory to international conventions preventing capital punishments is a foreign policy mistake and moral regression to boot. It is clear that the death sentence does not deter crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to prevent people from committing a crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than life imprisonment.