PML-N tables bill in Senate seeking public execution for child sexual abusers

The proposed bill states that the high court will be bound to wrap up rape and sexual abuse cases within two months. — The News/files 

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N on Monday tabled an amendment bill in the Senate demanding public execution of those convicted in child sexual abuse cases.

PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi submitted the Children’s Amendment Bill in the Senate which also calls for keeping the child abuser sentenced for life, in jail till the convict doesn’t die.

Another amendment to the bill mandates that the hearing of child sexual abuse cases will be conducted at the high courts instead of the sessions courts.

The high court — according to the bill — will be bound to wrap up rape and sexual abuse cases within two months and an appeal against the decision of the said court can be challenged only at the Supreme Court.

The bill submitted to the Senate also stated that the apex court will wrap up the hearing of the appeal within two weeks. The punishments in the bill will apply to the sexual abuse of children up to the age of 18.

The tabling of the bill comes after last week’s motorway rape case that shocked and angered the country when a mother of three children was raped on the motorway at Lahore’s Gujjarpura by two men.

The woman had gotten stranded at the motorway when her car ran out of petrol. She called the motorway emergency helpline but assistance was not provided to her.

Two men arrived and smashed the windows of the car, forcibly taking the woman and her children outside the vehicle and raped her in the nearby fields after torturing her. She was also robbed of Rs100,000 cash, jewellery and ATM cards.

Social media went up in arms when CCPO Lahore Umar Sheikh issued a victim-blaming statement in which he blamed the woman for taking the route she did and not checking her petrol. Sheikh subsequently apologised for his comments.

Over 8 children subjected to sexual abuse daily in first 6 months of 2020

More than eight children were subjected to sexual abuse on average every day in the first six months of 2020 in Pakistan, said a report by child protection NGO Sahil.

In its six-month “Cruel Number” report released last week, Sahil reported that as of June this year, 497 children were sexually abused throughout the country.

The NGO said most of the cases reported were in Punjab — comprising 57% of the total number. Of the rest, 32% were reported in Sindh and 6% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It further noted that more than 35 child abuse cases were reported in Islamabad, 22 in Balochistan, 10 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and one in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Out of the total reported cases, 62% were from rural areas and 38% reported from urban areas

At least 173 children were gang-raped, whereas there were 227 reports of attempted sexual assault. Moreover, 38 children were killed after they were sexually abused.

Of the total children who were subjected to sexual abuse, 53% were girls and 47% boys.

Sahil also highlighted that 51 cases of underage marriage were reported.

The conclusions were drawn from January-June 2020 data from 84 newspapers and covers incidents from all four provinces, as well as Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan, it added.

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