–Committee’s chairman says criminals are not hanged in public in a democratic society
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) Human Rights Standing Committee on Thursday rejected an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) providing for public hanging of abductors who kill or sexually assault minors, intended to serve as a deterrent against cases like that of seven-year-old Zainab Ameen in Kasur.
Last week, Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Rehman Malik requested the Senate to take up a bill seeking public hanging of child rapists.
Malik, in a letter to the Senate Secretariat, said: “The amendments to the existing legislation, which have been approved by the Senate committee, seek changes to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in relation to punishments for the offence of the kidnapping of children.”
The committee’s bill, entitled the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2018, seeks to amend the Pakistan Penal Code Act 1860’s Section 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of 14) so that the punishment for the crime is a public execution.
Section 364-A currently reads: “Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person under the [age of fourteen] in order that such person may be murdered or subjected to grievous hurt… or to the lust of any person [sic] shall be punished with death.”
The bill seeks to add the phrase, “public execution”, after the word “death” in the current legislation.
The bill seeks the same amendment to the CrPC, 1898, Schedule II, Column 1 against Section 364-A.
Earlier, while debating the recommendations, Senator Farhatullah Babar and Senator Hasil Bizenjo strongly opposed the amendments.
“One person was hanged publicly in Lahore during Zia’s era. We should not revert to that,” Babar had added. “If the law is amended today, the demands will not stop and calls for hanging everyone will be raised.”
Rejecting the hanging of criminals in public squares, the NA committee said that criminals are not hanged in public in democratic society.
“We no longer live in era of military dictators,” the committee said.
The NA committee chairman, Babar Nawaz Khan, said that the recommended amendments were opposed by the body.
“No one can be censored in a democratic society,” Khan said, asserting: “Criminals are not hanged in public in a democratic society. Instead of hanging criminals in public, we need legislation.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA [Member National Assembly] Sajid Nawaz, however, called for public hangings to be aired live on television.