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February 8, 2020

NA clears public hanging for child rapists

Top Story

February 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly approved on Friday with a sizeable majority a resolution demanding public hanging for rapists of minors.

The resolution was presented in the Lower House of the Parliament by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan. The House strongly condemned the sexual abuse and brutal killing of eight- year-old girl Ewaz Noor in Nowshera. The resolution stated that rapists of children should be awarded death penalty and executed publicly.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) objected to the resolution, with the PPP’s senior leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf saying that under the rights set forth by the United Nations, culprits cannot be hanged publicly.

The PPP parliamentarian said that his party condemns brutal killing of children and feels that the culprits should be given severe punishment. “Instead of hanging such culprits, they should be imprisoned for life time and their bail must be blocked so that they spend the whole life in jail,” he said.

Pervaiz Ashraf said Pakistan was also a signatory to many international laws on human rights, which never allow public hanging. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also shared his views on Twitter opposing the passing of the resolution.

“Strongly condemn this resolution. This is just another grave act in line with brutal civilisation practices [sic]. Societies (should) actin a balanced way, (barbarity) is not an answer to crimes. This is another expression of extremism,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also spoke out against the resolution.

“The resolution passed in NA today on public hangings was across party lines and not a government-sponsored resolution, but an individual act. Many of us oppose it — our Ministry of Human Rights strongly opposes this. Unfortunately, I was in a meeting and was not able to go to NA,” she said on Twitter.

The Interior Minister Ejaz Shah was among parliamentarians from the treasury benches who signed the resolution. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Imran Khattak from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also signed the resolution.

The Amnesty International also condemned the passage of the resolution in the National Assembly, saying that public hangings were acts of unconscionable cruelty.

“The sexual abuse and murder of children are among the most horrific crimes, but the death penalty is not a solution. Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty and have no place in a rights-respecting society,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich.

Waraich called for the implementation of strong safeguarding policies and procedures, meant to guard children against abuse, to better protect the youth in Pakistan. “Executions, whether public or private, do not deliver justice. They are acts of vengeance and there is no evidence that they serve as a uniquely effective deterrent,” said Waraich.