After heinous crimes of raping and murdering children have surfaced and occupied our minds, a significant section of our society is demanding public executions of the culprits. To the public rage, the Council of the Islamic Ideology (CII) along with several parliamentarians provide support. On the question of public executions, the CII maintains that modern means of communication should be used for publicity purposes. The CII’s understanding that public executions will serve the purpose of deterrence is a bit flawed.

For countries where certain crimes are punishable by death, and the culprits are executed before the public gaze, crimes do not reduce. We have Iran and Saudi Arabia as examples in front of us. There is no doubt that all countries whether religious or secular want crime-free societies; however, the means used to achieve the desired objective are debatable. So is the idea of public execution of pedophiles.

What the government of Pakistan needs is to ensure that speedy justice is assured in such cases. What the relevant authorities need to do is to extend maximum cooperation to the families of victims. It is safe to say that majority of the population favours the death penalty for child molesters, however, not every citizen is comfortable with public executions.

CII’s insistence that public executions or publicising death punishment of a convict, through modern communication means, will deter crimes is not a solution at all. No society is crime free. Those who commit such heinous acts are well aware of the repercussions of their bestial actions. Yet, they indulge in acts of child abuse. Our response to stop such abuses should not be emotional. Instead, rational faculties should be used to devise a strategy for controlling the widespread ill of pedophilia. There are already provisions within Pakistan Penal Code that deal with the offenses of such nature. The problem lies in state’s failure to administer justice in such cases.

There are already large numbers of prisoners on the death row on terrorism charges against them in Pakistani jails. Will their public executions serve the deterrence purpose as far as terrorism is concerned? No! Similarly, public hanging of those involved in child abuses will fail to put a stop to such crimes.  Before going for emotionally charged decisions, it's better to take care of those who are already on the death row. In the case of punishing child molesters as well, the state can send a strong message of deterrence if executions are carried out behind the prison walls as it did in the case of Mumtaz Qadri.