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Public hanging: a solution or violation of human rights

Recently, the national assembly has passed a resolution calling for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists. This resolution was moved by Parliamentary Affairs State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan. The demand for public hanging was raised by the people during Zainab’s case (a six years girl raped and murdered by her neighbor). This is a fact that child abuse isevil and every second day, weheard about such cases. In November 2019, a case was registered against a man who was allegedly involved in sexually abusing 30 children in Pakistan. The man was the employee of the KP government.
The report released by Sahil stated that more than 7 children are being abused every day. In the first six months of 2019, a total of 1304 child abuse cases were reported. Nearly 139 casesof child rape and46 cases of gang rape were reported. A recent report released by SSDO shows that in 2019, the Islamabad has witnessed a vast increase (nearly 159 percent) in the child abuse cases. More boys were sexually abused as compared to girls.
The resolution passed by the national assembly is a popular decision but not has any legal binding. This is an effort to push the country in the dark era. This act also shows the double standard of our leadership. The State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs was among the three ministers who were opposing the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The State Minister opposeda bill that was going to ban early child marriages, one of the leading causes of child abuse and school dropout. On the other side, he presented a resolution that is calling for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists. What message do we want to deliver? Will we work on selective child rights issues or we adopt a holistic approach?
The resolution was criticized by Dr. Shireen Mazari, Minister for human rights and Fawad Chaudhry Minister of Science & Technology. It shows that even federal ministers were not taken into confidence and the statement of the resolution was not shared among the cabinet. The silence of Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan is further creating confusion among the party. Clear direction on child rights matters should be issued by Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan so that the legislative matters like the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2018 should not oppose by PTI members and discourage such type of resolution that would fuel extremism in the country. The resolution is a violation of the Supreme Court verdict against public hanging that was issued in 1994.
The resolution is against the spirit of the constitution of Pakistan as article 14-(1) of the constitution stated that “The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable”. Public hanging is a violation of human rights too. A study conducted in Iran revealed that the children who witness public hanging near their school suffer from serious emotional effects. In our society, it is common to criticize children for the mistakes their parents made. Just imagine how our society will treat the children of the convicted (if hang publicly). It would leave numerous negative impacts on children.
In an ear, when death plenty is being abolished in most of the countries. We are calling for the public hanging. This is a hard reality that death plenty is not a solution to child abuse. We have remembered Javed Iqbal an alleged serial killer who was sentenced to death in 2000. In 2018, Imran Ali was awarded death plenty. In November 2019, another shocking case was registered against Ayaz, who was allegedly involved in sexually abusing 30 children. But child abuse is still on the top of the issues. Many measures have not yet taken to protect the lives of the children such as no database has been developed to maintain the record of abusers/culprits.
No arrangement has been made to make an assessment of the convicted to identify the root causes of child abuse and characterizes of the abusers. The child protection system at the community level is not yet developed.
Instead of passing an inhumane resolution, our policy-makers should play their due role to implement UN-CRC and UN-Periodical Review (UPR) recommendations to ensure the protection of the children. Without taking concrete steps we will not be able to provide our children with a safe environment.
The law-makers must think that hanging in the public is not a solution but empowering children and parents and community members on preventative measures is a better option to deter child abuse as it is preventable.



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