Govt, opposition join hands for ban on corporal punishment of children
The National Assembly session on Tuesday showed a rare sign of unity among the treasury and opposition benches where both sides join hands and passed amendments in the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act 2017 (Islamabad Capital Territory), reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Tuesday.
A clause-wise approval of the bill to amend the law to prohibit corporal punishment of children also held.
PML-N Mehnaz Akbar Aziz moved the motion prepared after comprehensive consultations with the stakeholders.
The landmark legislation to Ban Corporal Punishment on children unanimously passed from the Lower House of the parliament.
Earlier, the Islamabad High Court on February 13 suspended till further notice section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that allows for the use of corporal punishment by parents, guardians and teachers "in good faith for the benefit". Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) will, however, remain suspended only in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Singer and rights activist Shehzad Roy has campaigned for the bill.
His Zindagi Trust said, “We have been campaigning to bring an end to this practice since 2013, when our Founder Shehzad Roy's TV show Chal Parha and subsequent advocacy led to the NA of Pakistan passing a bill criminalising corporal punishment, which unfortunately lapsed in the Senate.”
In the years since, Sindh and Gilgit Baltistan have passed laws against corporal punishment, but much remains to be done to protect children.
The bill remained stuck in committees for months, but today finally it passed from the Lower House of the Assembly.
It is relevant to mention that a study found that children in juvenile detention centres in Karachi were so used to corporal punishment they did not consider it a form of violence. A majority had been beaten at home before being institutionalized. (Children in Conflict with Law, Legal Aid Society, 2020)