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February 1, 2017

You can’t raise a hand to kids in Sindh any more


February 1, 2017

Provincial assembly passes bill against corporal punishment; unanimous resolution criticises petrol price hike

To protect children across Sindh from physical punishment, the provincial legislature acted as a cohesive group to pass the relevant bill on Tuesday.

The Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2015 was referred to the house’s Standing Committee on Higher, Technical Education and Research, School Education (up to Matriculation) and Special Education almost a year ago.

The private bill submitted by opposition lawmaker Mahtab Akbar Rashdi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional was passed into law on the basis of the standing body’s report containing deliberations and proposed amendments.

Mahtab thanked the entire legislature for supporting the bill, saying that physical punishment at educational institutions left deep scars on the personalities of the children and that it should be discouraged and be punishable.

“Gone are the days when parents used to allow teachers to physically punish their children,” she added. “No civilised society can tolerate physical punishment being meted out to schoolchildren.”

The preamble of the bill states: “It is necessary to make provisions for the protection of children against corporal punishment by any person at workplace, in all types of educational institutions, including formal, non-formal and religious, both public and private, in childcare institutions, including foster care, rehabilitation centres, any other alternative care settings, both public and private, and in the juvenile justice system.”

Forcing a child to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding, forced ingestion and mental abuse are also defined as corporal punishment under the new law.

The section dealing with penalties reads that violators “shall be liable to the punishment for the said offences in the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and other respective laws”.

The bill also lists punishments for violators in government service. Minor penalties include censure or withholding promotion or increment, while major penalties include demotion, compulsory retirement or dismissal from service. Dismissal from service, according to the bill, means that the violator would be ineligible for future employment.

Another section states: “The provincial government shall devise a comprehensive system for enforcement and monitoring of the act in private institutions, whether registered or unregistered, which will be prescribed. All private institutions shall formulate a complaint system to address corporal punishment.”

Petrol price hike

The Sindh Assembly also unanimously passed a resolution against the increase in prices of petroleum products across the country.

Presented by opposition lawmaker Kamran Akhter of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the resolution states: “This assembly resolves and recommends to the Sindh government to approach the federal government to withdraw the recent price increase in petroleum products that affects the masses badly.”

Nisar Khuhro of the Pakistan Peoples Party advised the rulers to “refrain from causing further sufferings to the poor people of the country”.

He warned that the existence of the federal administration could be “severely jeopardised” if the poor were to take to the streets against their “endless sufferings at the hands of the authorities”.

The house also passed a resolution moved by MPA Syed Amir Haider Shah Sheerazi to approach the Pakistan Cricket Board to select cricketers on merit from the entire country, including Sindh.

Alternative energy

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told the legislature that the wind corridor identified in the province had already been generating 650MWs of clean electricity, adding that more projects of wind energy of 350MWs would be completed in the near future.

He said Sindh had the potential to generate electricity up to 2,500MWs using alternative energy resources, but it had to move ahead in the sector cautiously owing to the limited capacity of the national grid to accommodate new power projects.

Shah said the federal government had assured the relevant provincial authorities of expanding the national grid for more power, which would be produced on the basis of clean energy resources.

He said the province had already completed model projects for providing solar-based electricity to two villages near the Indian border and for energising street lights and tube wells using solar power. The schemes to this effect were included in the Annual Development Programme of the government, he added.

The chief executive was speaking on a private resolution moved by the MQM’s Naila Munir calling upon provincial government to initiate model projects of solar energy to avoid power outages across the province. The house unanimously passed the resolution.

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