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Senate body sets the stage for public hanging of Zainab’s killer

January 24, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A day before Tuesday’s major breakthrough of the arrest of suspect rapist and killer of seven-year-old Zainab, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior has set the ball rolling to make an example of such culprits by hanging them in public.

To create an effective deterrence against such heinous crimes in the society, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior proposed an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code to publicly hang a convict involved in sexual abuse and murder of children below the age of 14.

Interestingly, the Senate committee’s recommendations were the consequence of its deliberations focused on the Zainab case. This horrific incident has shaken the entire society and compelled the lawmakers to review the present systems in order to check the growing incidents of rape and murder of innocent young children, both girls and boys, in the country.

A slide showing a picture of Imran Ali suspected of being a serial killer responsible for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old Zainab Ansari is shown at a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan January 23, 2018. REUTERS

Upset by the Kasur incident, there has been growing demand to hang the killer(s)of the innocent child in public. Although, some human rights activists are opposed to the public hanging of culprits involved in heinous crime, this is not only in accordance with the teachings of Islam but also the most effective way of creating deterrence in the society.

The News senior journalist Sabir Shah in his recent well-researched article on how the internet has led to phenomenal rise in child pornography and sex-related crimes worldwide has quoted how during late General Ziaul Haq’s tenure the public hanging of a killer and rapist of a young boy had effectively worked as a deterrence.

Sabir Shah wrote, “Punishment in Pappu rape and murder case served as a deterrent: Many of us can recall that in 1981, a child named ‘Pappu’ was kidnapped from Lahore's Baghbanpura area (near Shalamar Bagh) and a few days later, his body was recovered from a Pakistan Railways pond nearby. The military court during General Ziaul Haq's martial law regime had sentenced the kidnappers and the killer to death. Within a week, the abductors of Pappu and his killer were hanged publicly till death at a site where Begumpura locality's vegetable and fruit market exists today. The bodies of the culprits were made to remain hanging till sunset and this stern punishment had served as an effective deterrent as no child was reportedly abducted or raped in the country for the next one decade or so.”

Now after over 37 years and in view of growing incidents of children’s rape and killing, Pakistan is forced to reconsider the option of public hanging. Because of the same reasons, the Senate’s committee had a special session held under the chair of PPP Senator Rehman Malik on Monday. The committee proposed the following amendment to Section 364A of the PPC: “Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person under the age of 14 years of age, in order that such person may be murdered or subjected to grievous hurt, or slavery, or to the lust of any person or may be so disposed of as to be put in danger of being murdered or subjected to grievous hurt, or slavery, or to the lust of any person shall be punished with death by hanging publically or with (imprisonment for life) or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years and shall not be less than seven years.”

Statement of objective for the proposed amendment as endorsed by the Senate committee admitted, “Fear of punishment could prevent others from committing a similar crime. It is expedient to amend the PPC to make offender dreadful for other offenders who commit the offences related to kidnapping or abducting or raping and murdering a child under the age of fourteen years.”

The committee had also passed a resolution strongly condemning abductions, rapes and murders of innocent minor children across the country and condemned the murder of Zainab in Kasur and Asma in Mardan. On the special invitation and arrangements of the committee, the aggrieved parents of Zainab had also attended the meeting. The resolution along with the proposed amendment to the Section 364A of the PPC was sent to the House.