Senate passes bill aimed at protecting children

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015 aimed at providing protection to the children from cruel treatment.

Another bill seeking further amendment in the National University of Sciences and Technology Act, 1997 was referred to the concerned standing committee for deliberation.

Both the bills were moved by Minister for Human Rights Zahid Hamid in the House.

The Statement and Objects of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015 says that Pakistan ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990, and is under obligation to implement its provision by harmonizing national policies, legislations, programmes, plans of action with it and report progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva after every year.

The provisions provided in our criminal law statutes fail to cover number of very serious offence against the person of a child like; child pornography, exposure to seduction, sexual abuse, cruelty to a child and trafficking in human beings within Pakistan.

The amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure have been proposed while keeping in mind the international obligations and domestic realities.

The salient features of the Act included the minimum age of criminal responsibility has been raised from 7 to 10 years and the upper age limit from 12-14 years, act of exposing children to obscene and sexually explicit material has been criminalised with punishment, criminalises child pornography and proposes punishments for internal trafficking of human beings.

Meanwhile, Chairman Raza Rabbani referred the bill further to amend the National University of Sciences and Technology ct, 1997 [The National University of Science and Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the standing committee after moving it in the House by Zahid Hamid on behalf of Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain.