NA demanded public hanging for child abusers


ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Friday passed with majority votes a resolution strongly condemning the child abuse incident and killing of a minor in Nowshera, and demanded death punishment and public hanging for those involved in the despicable incident. The session was presided over by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri.

The resolution was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan is also in favour of giving exemplary punishment to the people involved in such crime.

The hand-written resolution referred to the brutal killing of eight-year-old Iwaz Noor in Nowshera. Strongly condemning the death, the signatories wrote, “This House demands that to stop these shameful and brutal killings of children and give a strong deterrent effect, the killers and rapists should not only be given death penalty by hanging but they should be hanged publicly.”

The minister of state for parliamentary affairs maintained that several steps have been taken to protect the youth from any kind of abuse, including the establishment of a child protection centre in the federal capital and ratification of laws such as the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act. He lauded the members of the parliament on the passage of the resolution.

The Pakistan People’s Party objected to the resolution, with PPP senior leader Raja Pervez Ashraf saying that under the rights set forth by the United Nations, culprits cannot be hanged publicly. “Ramping up the severity of punishments does not result in a reduction in crime,” he said. “We cannot put public hanging into practice as it violates the laws of the United Nations,” he added.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also shared his views on Twitter opposing the passing of the resolution. “Strongly condemn this resolution. This is just another grave act in line with brutal civilisation practices [sic]. Societies [should] act in a balanced way, [barbarity] is not an answer to crimes. This is another expression of extremism,” he wrote.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also spoke out against the resolution. “The resolution passed in NA on public hangings is across party lines and not a govt-sponsored resolution but an individual act. Many of us oppose it – our Ministry of Human Rights strongly opposes this. Unfortunately, I was in a meeting and was not able to go to NA,” she said on Twitter.

The Amnesty International also condemned the passage of the bill in parliament, saying that public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty. “The sexual abuse and murder of children are among the most horrific crimes, but the death penalty is not a solution. Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty and have no place in a rights-respecting society,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich.

Waraich called for the implementation of strong safeguarding policies and procedures, meant to guard children against abuse, to better protect the youth in Pakistan. “Executions, whether public or private, do not deliver justice. They are acts of vengeance and there is no evidence that they serve as a uniquely effective deterrent,” he said.

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