Child protection bill prepared

ISLAMABAD  –   A bill on the protection of child has proposed that whoever, other than parent, controlling and behaving with a child in a manner likely to cause such unnecessary mental or physical suffering shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment.

“Whoever, not being a parent, having the actual charge of or control over a child, willfully assaults, ill-treats, fails to provide adequate food and clothes or behaving with a child in a manner likely to cause such unnecessary mental or physically suffering shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also shall be liable to fine which may extend to three hundred thousand rupees.  The commission led by secretary ministry of human rights has also been proposed for regulatory role,” the bill proposed.

In compliance of the Supreme Court’s July 3 order in minor Tayyaba torture case, a bill has been prepared with the recommendations of committee constituted by the apex court.

After getting input from the committee members, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mahmood drafted a bill with a view to promote child rights and protect ‘child at risk’ in Pakistan.  The copy of bill has been circulated to various ministries including law ministry to get their input as well. Later it will be submitted before the apex court.

The draft bill has further proposed the abolishment of ‘corporal punishment’ and whoever will be involved in that offence should be punished with imprisonment for six months or with a fine to fifty thousand rupees or with both.

“Corporal punishment stands abolished in all its kinds and manifestations and its practices in any form is prohibited,” states the draft of bill on the protection of child.

Taking into account the absence of a law against child domestic labour and noting numerous existing laws pertaining to child labour and employment with lacunas, contradictions and non uniformity, the top court in its last order had constituted a committee tointroduce the legislation and propose steps to be taken for the protection of children rights. The committee consisted of retired high courts judges’ lawyers, civil society members of all provinces.

The initial draft defining ‘child at risk’ states that the child in need of protection who is at risk including an orphan, child with disabilities, child of migrant workers, child working living on street, child who is found in begging, child who is found without home or whose parents are unfit to control him, child who lives in a brothel or a prostitute, a child who is in imprisonment with the mother or born in jail and a child who is left abandoned by his parents.

It is also proposed that whoever commits an offence of child pornography shall be punished not less than three years and it may extend to seven years. Likewise, whoever seduces a child by any means with intent to involve him in any sexual activity or exposes him to obscene, sexually explicit material document shall be punished to the extent of seven years.

The draft justified that the item No 3 & 32 of the Federal Legislative List of the constitution provide exclusive power to the parliament to legislate for the external affairs, implementation of  international treaties, convention and agreements.

The draft has proposed punishments of several offences related to the child abuse. It is recommended that whoever causes or permits to cause corporal punishment through mission or commission in any form, under any circumstances or for any purpose, to a child shall be punished with imprisonment for such term which may extend to six months.

Likewise, whoever commits an offence of sexual abuse shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than 14 years and shall be liable to fine which shall not be less than ten hundred thousand rupees.  It added that arrest in such offence may be made without warrant and it will be non bailable and non compoundable offence.

The bill has also proposed minimum 14 years of punishment to those who would be involved in child trafficking within Pakistan and sentence may also be increased for life imprisonment. Likewise, the court may award fine to the tune of maximum one million in that offence.

Regarding employing a child for begging, the bill recommends that whoever employs any child, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to five years.

The bill has also recommended penalties in the offences of fraud on a child, violence against a child, punishment for violence, unauthorized custody, cruelty to a child, giving child intoxicating liquor or narcotics to a child, inciting child to bet or borrow etc.

The draft has also recommended that whoever commits the offence of dealing in any organ of a child may be punished with sentence to life imprisonment, which has meant a period of 25 years.



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