NA body unanimously endorses bill; asks for guarding against crimes, ensure life and dignity of women.

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a bill that proposes life imprisonment or death sentence for abusing a less than 14-year-old child.

A meeting of the committee was held here on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan to discuss the proposed criminal law amendment bill and other agenda items.

The committee observed that it was an obligation of the State to guard against crime, prevent abuse of the process of law, protect vulnerable from exploitation, and ensure the life and dignity of women.

The committee observed that rape is an attack on critical public values that undermines the social and moral fabric of a community and, therefore, mandates to mobilisation of the State’s protective and condemnatory forces.

MNA Shaista Perveiz Malik, the mover of the bill ‘The Criminal Law (amendment) Bill 2014’ (Amendment of section 55 Act XLV of 1860), briefed the committee.

She explained that rape is a physical and psychological attack on a woman’s dignity, body, her mental well being, integrity and privacy, and affects her ability to function in the society.

The law makes no provision for the social suffering and ostracism that a rape victim may be subject to, magnified further through wide publication regarding commission of the offence against her.

The proposed amendments adhere to the principles of Islam, the mandate of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and international human rights and are essential to meet the challenges in the investigation and prosecution of rape cases.

The members of the committee appreciated the efforts of Shaista Pervaiz Malik about the bill. After detailed discussions, the committee unanimously passed the bill.

Later, the chairman invited the representatives from the Ministry of Interior to brief the committee clause by clause on the bill.

The representatives from the Ministry of Interior briefed the committee that the whole nation is suffering from the trauma of brutal terrorist attacks and terrorism, sectarianism and extremism have affected the people.

The country is passing through an extraordinary situation that requires stringent measures to curb this menace.

The sole purpose behind all this was to provide protection to the people of Pakistan and prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan.

After detailed discussions, the committee partially endorsed the amendments proposed in the bill with minor changes.

However, it directed the ministry to bring it back before the committee in its next meeting for final approval.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Ghalib Khan, Syed Iftikharul Hassan, Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, Ms Naeema Kishwer Khan, Dr Arif Alvi, Sher Akber Khan, Col(R) Dr Amir Ullah Marwat, Ms Shaista Pervaiz Malik and representatives from Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Law and National Assembly Secretariat.

For Pakistan