News Analysis |
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has advised against amending the ‘Criminal Law Amendment Act 2017’ to add public hanging as the punishment for child kidnapping. The Senate Standing Committee on Interior had proposed a bill to add public hanging as the punishment for Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) Section 364-A and the bill was sent to CII for review.
The Chairman of CII, Dr. Qibla Ayaz, held a press conference on Thursday. He stated, “There is no need to amend ‘Criminal Law Amendment Act 2017’ for a modification in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) Act’s Section 364-A with regard to kidnapping or abduction of a person under the age of 14. Rather there is a need to ensure punishing culprits involved in such heinous crime in order to build trust and confidence of judiciary among victim’s family.”
Laws need to be made to fill the loopholes in the criminal system that helps the culprits. The identity of the victims should also be protected to encourage people to come forward and report these crimes.
Dr. Ayaz told the media that he had recommended a speedy trial in rape and murder cases of minors and said that the only solution to this problem is to ensure certainty of punishment. He exclaimed that the main purpose of the Islamic theory of penalty is to create deterrence to the crime and not to seek vengeance. The chairman apprised that the council has unanimously believed that the justice system of Pakistan is outdated and it has failed to provide justice to the people.
“Major steps are needed to develop a totally new justice mechanism,” the chairman concluded. The details of their decision were not revealed to the media but it was made clear that the CII does not support the amendment for public hanging since it does not provide the desired effects of creating deterrence against the crime.
The demand for introducing public hanging as the punishment for crimes against minors gained support after the rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab. She was abducted on 3rd January from near her house and her raped and abused dead body was found in a trash heap on 9th January. The brutal rape and murder of Zainab shook the whole nation and received widespread condemnation from all circles of society.
They also suggest that the government shouldn’t make laws according to public sentiments since they are fleeting. Decisions should be made considering the long term welfare of the public.
After the Zainab murder case, a number of similar cases surfaced throughout the country which added fuel to fire to the already outraged and resentful public, and the demands were endorsed by all sections of society alike. The CM of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif promised public execution for the murderer of Zainab if the law allowed it. Following the demands, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior recommended an amendment to the PPC Section 364-A, adding ‘public hanging’ as the punishment for kidnapping children.
The recommendation of CII against public hanging was praised among human rights circles. They praised the CII for not giving into public sentiment and making a decision based on need and rationality. Public executions were a common practice throughout the world in the 18th and 19th century. They have been abolished all over the world except for 4 countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Somalia. Studies have been made on the deterrent effect of public punishment and there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that they have any effect on curbing the crime.
The chairman apprised that the council has unanimously believed that the justice system of Pakistan is outdated and it has failed to provide justice to the people.
Legal experts agree with the CII that certainty of punishment is the only way to curb crimes against minors. The punishment is redundant if the culprits are not caught and it makes no difference to the culprit whether they are punished publicly or behind closed doors. Improving the efficiency of the judicial system and law enforcement agencies is more effective to control crimes than making the punishments more stringent.
They also suggest that the government shouldn’t make laws according to public sentiments since they are fleeting. Decisions should be made considering the long term welfare of the public. Laws need to be made to fill the loopholes in the criminal system that helps the culprits. The identity of the victims should also be protected to encourage people to come forward and report these crimes.