National Assembly passes Zainab Alert Act 2019
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly of Pakistan on Friday passed the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act 2019 on the second death anniversary of minor girl of Kasur, Zainab Ansari.
The bill was presented before the House by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari.
The 9-year-old girl’s rape and murder had sparked protests all over the country in 2018. Her body was found on Jan 9, 2018 from a pile of garbage in Kasur, where several other such incidents took place in one year’s span.
The bill was first presented in June 2019. In August 2019, a parliamentary body had objected to the extreme punishment proposed in the bill.
Responding to a calling attention notice in the House, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said a national action plan had been prepared against child abuse and molestation which would be launched before the end of this month.
She said a registry of convicted sexual offenders was also being prepared with the cooperation of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Regarding the latest incident of child abuse in Mansehra, the minister for human rights said the provincial government had taken a strict notice of despicable incident.
The movers of the calling attention notice demanded strict action against those involved in heinous acts of child abuse.
Earlier the government had suggested public hanging for the convict in child rape and murder case, however the bill has approved life imprisonment for the perpetrator with one million rupees fine. A helpline would also be established to report missing child. The bill also proposes to take action against the police official causing delay in investigation.
The act would be immediately implemented in Islamabad only, as the NA does not have its jurisdiction in the provinces. The provincial assemblies would have to separately take up the issue and pass the bill.
Other bills passed by the House included: Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, the Legal Aid and Justice Authority Bill, Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill the Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Order (Repeal) Bill and ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill.