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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 11, 2020

'Hang convicted child abusers publicly,' says KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed

Pakistan

Web Desk
Wed, Mar 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani on Wednesday said convicted child sexual abusers "should be executed publicly".

"We want convicted child sexual abusers to be executed publicly and, if that is not possible, then videos of the sentence being carried out should be made and distributed to people in order to curb such crimes," said Ghani, during an event held at the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

"The aim is to not just award punishments but bring reform in the society as well," said the KP Assembly speaker.

He said that an awareness campaign would be launched for the public following new legislation.

Even "Prime Minister Imran Khan wants convicted child sexual abusers to be executed publicly", he claimed, adding that consultations were underway to review the Supreme Court's 1994 decision to ban public executions.

Ghani said it was yet to be figured out if a review petition could be filed after such a long time but stressed that he would go ahead on behalf of the KP Assembly if there was a legal provision to do so.

"Children are the future of the nation [but] the number of cases of child sexual abuse and murder are rising," he noted. "The KP Assembly has decided to catch these monsters."

A parliamentary committee analysed the laws and decided to make them stricter, he explained, adding that while the lawmaking continued, a new committee was set up to ensure that the existing laws were implemented.

The new proposed legislation would soon be moved from the provincial cabinet to the assembly, said Ghani. "KP will be ahead of everyone else in its efforts to curb child sexual abuse," he underlined.

Referring to the 225 cases of child sexual abuse registered in Abbottabad alone in a year, he said parents would also have to play their role in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

"The accused [in cases of child sexual abuse] are able to escape punishments in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan," Ghani said, regretting that one man accused in hundreds of cases was acquitted despite his confession statement.

While convicts under 18 years of age cannot be prosecuted, punishments against child sexual abusers would be made stricter, he said. "Efforts are underway to push for a minimum of 10-year imprisonment so that there is no option of bail."

"There's a recommendation to bump up fines from Rs500,000 to Rs5 million. There's also a recommendation to raise the punishment for child pornography from seven to 14 years," he noted.

Child sexual abuse cases should be investigated by officers of the superintendent of police (SP) rank, he underscored, adding that the model courts would announce rulings after a month of the probe after the new law is introduced.

"Child sex offenders would also not be allowed to get jobs in the government," the KP lawmaker explained.

Ghani said that the provincial assembly was making laws after taking into account the CII's recommendations.

'Properly trained officers should oversee cases'

CII Chairperson Dr Qibla Ayaz said the country's police were not aware of the severity of the child sexual abuse issue.

"Special cells should be set up where properly trained police officers should oversee cases," Dr Ayaz said, adding that there were similar special cells to deal with cases of racism in the UK.

"These special courts held hearings over cases of racism day and night which ultimately helped bring down racial crimes," he added