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ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday passed a bill that criminalises for the first time sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking.

The amendment to the penal code, which will go into force after being ratified by the president, also raises the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 10 years of age.

Under the revised legislation, sexual assaults will now be punishable by up to seven years in prison. Previously, only rape was criminalised.

Likewise, child pornography, which was previously not mentioned in the law, will be punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of Rs0.7 million.

The country was rocked last August by a major paedophilia scandal when it was revealed that hundreds of pornographic videos of children from the village of Hussain Khanwala in Kasur district had been created and were being circulated.

Child abuse: Cruel numbers, toothless laws

About 20 arrests were made, but only the acts of rape and sodomy were punishable by law. The new amendment also criminalises child trafficking within the country.

Previously traffickers were only liable for punishment if they removed children from the country.

The legislation would help protect the children against any kind of mental and physical abuse.

The new Sections 292 A, 292 B and 292 C, 328 A, 369 A, 377 A and 377 B have been incorporated in Pakistan Panel Code, 1860, making child pornography and exposure to seduction, a punishable crime.

Take a look: Kasur scandal: 'I thought of killing myself everyday'

“This is a very important step to realise the obligations of Pakistan under the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Sara Coleman, chief of child protection at Unicef.

“Now we have to turn our attention to the law's implementation,” said Valerie Khan, the director of Group Development Pakistan, a local NGO which advocates legal reforms.

She also called for the “establishment of a national commission on child rights, which is essential to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the law.”

Pakistan ratified the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and is under obligation to implement its provision by harmonising polices, legislation, programmes, plans of action with it and report progress to the UN committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Geneva after every five years.

To undertake this task, existing laws are required to be harmonised with the UNCRC to effectively initiate requisite actions for meeting the standards set forth under the UNCRC.

According to a recent study from Sahil, a non-government organisation (NGO) working against child sex abuse, the total number of young boys being abused increased by 4.3 per cent in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

The report said that 178 boys aged 6 to 10 were abused compared to 150 girls of the same ages.


Comments (29) Closed



Fahad Mar 11, 2016 07:15pm

This government has been really bold lately in lawmaking which is a ray of hope for our rather conservative nation.

Umair Mar 11, 2016 07:16pm

Can anyone elaborate what is "exposure to seduction" that has been criminalised?

M.Saeed Mar 11, 2016 07:20pm

Thank God, after a very long time something sensible has been done by the politicians. Now the Apex Court should apply its top gear and punish as a start, the Qasur child abusers under the new law. No exceptions from now on. If any big-wig interferes, he should be charged as abettor of the crime.

Harmony-1© Mar 11, 2016 07:22pm

I am surprised that sexual assaults on minors were not criminalised before and only rape was criminalised.

Mr.President Mar 11, 2016 07:22pm

Look who woke up. This nation is inching closer to the 21st century

oneCaring Mar 11, 2016 07:23pm

Good but it was horribly shockingly surprised that we did have such law before. Oh, I am so ashamed, I am so so sorry my children we did not have anything to protect you from animals.

Philosopher (from Japan) Mar 11, 2016 07:27pm

Good work must be appreciated.

Nuh Mar 11, 2016 07:46pm

Let's implement it now!!!

Hamaad Mar 11, 2016 08:06pm

Good to read positive news coming out of Pakistan, again. Hope to see full and swift implementation of the new law.

AD Mar 11, 2016 08:20pm

Great step forward. I am totally surprised that sexual assaults on minors were not criminalized before.

Imad Qureshi Mar 11, 2016 08:21pm

"...also raises the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 10 years of age."

does that mean someone can assault an 11 year old and it will not be considered crime? To protect children, this law should apply all the way to at least 16-18 years old.

Desi Dimag Mar 11, 2016 08:40pm

What will happen to kashur kids?

Nadeem Mar 11, 2016 08:40pm

Very good!

Khurshid from Kalabat Mar 11, 2016 08:42pm

I am shocked to learn that we are in 2016 and Pakistan does not even a law to criminalize the sex abuse. What a shame that our beloved country Islamic Republic of Pakistan is thinking to criminalize sexual abuse with children in 2016, I can not believe Pakistan slept all that time.

MNSher Mar 11, 2016 08:46pm

its really a positive news, but i guess the responsibilities lies on shoulder's of people and parents as well, to educate children about the mishaps and dangers of it. it can put a stop to it for once when children are aware of such acts so they can restrain it from happening, similarly the society must play its role to keep such culprits out of the area and inform such activities to law enforcing agencies.

MNSher Mar 11, 2016 08:46pm

its really a positive news, but i guess the responsibilities lies on shoulder's of people and parents as well, to educate children about the mishaps and dangers of it. it can put a stop to it for once when children are aware of such acts so they can restrain it from happening, similarly the society must play its role to keep such culprits out of the area and inform such activities to law enforcing agencies.

Skeptic Mar 11, 2016 08:51pm

So until now it was not a 'crime' to sexually abuse children in Pakistan?

And to think the successive governments rushed to build a large nuclear arsenal. But had not thought about protecting the future generations with a simple law??

N_Saq Mar 11, 2016 09:10pm

Another good step in the right direction...Pak is on the right track.

gilgiti Mar 11, 2016 09:22pm

everyday aftermath we build a new law but there is no implementation.!!!

Norozkhan Mar 11, 2016 10:52pm

It is amazing that Pakistan had no law to criminalise child sexual abuse and protect our vulnerable kids. Where were our law makers for last 68 years who passed every bill for their own high salaries, perks and their protections but never thought about our children.

saz Mar 12, 2016 02:51am

This is good step but at the same time it is shocking too. For sixty years Pakistan was no having even any law to protect children from all forms of abuse and to prevent their intra country abduction. The punishment is still very little for such shameful acts that can ruin innocent minds and souls and can cause life long psychological distress.

Babar Mar 12, 2016 09:45am

Damn Nawaz, you got guts.

Inqelab Zindabad Mar 12, 2016 09:48am

@N_Saq Its not a step, its a giant leap.

Imran ali Mar 12, 2016 09:53am

laws after laws are made but never implemented ..rather misused

Maqsood Mar 12, 2016 10:10am

Very Good.

Imran ali Mar 12, 2016 02:02pm

will this law be implemented on the elite,if they are involved?

Azmeen Mar 12, 2016 02:57pm

Appreciated. Please make sure it is implemented.

Morad786 Mar 12, 2016 03:07pm

Its taken us this long to protect our kids.

Shame on all!!!

Adeel Siddiq Mar 12, 2016 05:19pm

It is a good to know that there is a law at least. Unfortunately, I believe that the punishment is not that harsh!. There should be at least 50 -100 lashes as well min 10 year jail and 2 million Rs fine.Just imagine, the life of a abused child is already shattered. We also need to have the rehabilitation centres. In Kasur cases, the culprits should be lashed in public so people will think at-least before committing a crime. Society has to wake up! do its part!