ISLAMABAD                 -         The Senate committee on Monday approved the Zainab Alert Bill enhancing its jurisdiction in the entire country and proposing punishment on failure in registration of a child missing or abduction case with police.

The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights met here under the chairmanship of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar to discuss the adoption of the report on The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill 2020 in an in-camera session.

Later, the chairman committee in his social media message informed that the committee has approved the bill and it will be applicable in the entire country.

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar informed that the bill will be applicable all over Pakistan including the federal capital territory while failure to register an FIR by police will also result in punishment up-to two years and fine.

He also informed that the designated courts will conduct trials relating to offences against children and a case would be completed within three months.

The senator tweeted “Today HR committee approved Zainab Alert Bill. 1)It will b applicable all over Pak not just isb 2)Failure to reg FIR by police will result in punishment upto 2yrs & fine 3)Designated courts will conduct trials relating to offences against children & complete within 3 months”.

He also said [The  Bill]  “Automatically apply nationally.., also international obligations under different treaties covenants etc (In this case Convention on Rights of Child) and their implementation is through Parliament”.

The bill titled The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill 2020 was tabled by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari for the protection of missing children and the National Assembly Committee on Human Rights had included death penalty in it.

The bill was later sent to the senate body on human rights for approval which now enhanced its jurisdiction proposing punishment on failure of registration of the FIR.

In previous meeting, the chairman committee had expressed reservations on the limited jurisdiction of the bill and urged for trial of cases in Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs).

Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Mohammad Ali Khan Saif had proposed an amendment in the definition of ‘child’ in the law to add everyone below the age 18 in the category of child to implement it in the entire country.

The bill draft earlier passed by the national assembly said that the body ZARRA will coordinate with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for issuance of Zainab alert SMSs, MMS, with PEMRA for tickers on television channels and announcements on radio stations and social media as well as posting on relevant websites or online, print media or any other available medium to report abductions.

It will also provide nationwide telephonic toll free hotline number 1099 or such other number where any person may report a missing or abducted child and such number may be used for any information relating to the missing or abducted child.

It will also coordinate to maintain a database both in ZARRA and relevant Division and of every reported incident of a missing or abducted child, the actions taken, the current status of the case and its final outcome.

It said that the database shall be monitored for accuracy and shall be kept updated all the time.

It said that any police officer who does not comply with the legal provisions in case of missing or abducted child who delays or hinders in providing or processing the information in accordance with legal provision shall be punished as well.