ISLAMABAD -  The Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Interior Tuesday passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 seeking more severe punishments for child pornography and sexual abuse of minors.

The committee that met under the chair of MNA Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan passed the bill which seeks enhancement of punishment for the accused. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2017 was moved by MNA Ms Mussarat Ahmad Zeb.

The statement of ‘objects and reasons’ of the bill says that recent events relating to child abuse of children throughout the country have necessitated that tough punishment shall be doled out to the perpetrators. Current penalties are less as compared to the magnitude of the crime. The bill aims to increase the punishment of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors, it stated.

The bill seeks imprisonment not less than 14 years or more than 20 years and with fine which shall not be less than one million rupees for the offence related with child pornography and sexual abuse of children.

The official of the Law Ministry opposed this bill on the ground that sticker punishment was not the solution to the matter. A member of the panel Sher Akbar Khan said the law ministry had opposed the bill without mentioning appropriate reasons against it.

Another bill the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2017 moved by MNA SA Iqbal Quadri and which was passed by the NA panel aims to give fair trail to accused as a fundamental right. According to the ‘objects and reasons’ of the bill, fair trial cannot be achieved unless copy of material or evidence which the prosecution intends to produce during trail in court against the accused is provided to the accused party. A certified copy of any report, all such statements recorded under the law and all documents forwarded under this section shall, on application, be furnished to the accused within seven days from the date of such application, the bill states.

The committee also passed The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Children Employment Bill, 2017 that was moved by MNA Shazi Marri, despite reluctance of the government reluctance the panel

The mover while highlighting the importance of the bill stated that all provinces already have legislated in this context but ICT lacked such a law. Marri said after surfacing of Tayyaba’s case and another case of the same nature in ICT, a legislation prohibiting employment of children in the capital territory had become indispensible.

The chairman committee also directed for formation of a committee comprising officers of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with the mandate to respond to any reservations of any province pertaining to matters of immigration and Exit Control List (ECL).

The meeting also constituted a sub-committee under the convenership of MNA Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur to review visa policy relating to the people of Pakistani origin having dual nationality.