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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly on Tuesday passed a private members’ bill suggesting an increase in the punishment for theft.

‘The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014’ suggests that if the value of the booty is less than Rs100,000, the punishment should be up to three years and the fine should not be less than double the value.

It suggests that if the value is up to Rs500,000, the punishment should be seven years and fine should be twice the stolen amount. If the value is up to Rs5 million, the punishment should be up to 10 years and the fine would be double the amount stolen.

If the value of the looted items is Rs 10 million, the law proposes a life sentence and a fine that is double the stolen amount.

One of the movers of the bill, MQM’s Kishwar Zehra told Dawn that thieves used to work alone, but now crime had become an organised endeavor involving professionals.

Though the maximum punishment for stealing is three years, in most cases only a few months prison time and fines are awarded,” she said.

“There was a need to amend the law and enhance punishments, because that is how organised groups can be checked. Moreover, if gang members are arrested, they will end up spending a few months in jail ,” she said.

This is only the third private members’ bill to be passed by the National Assembly this session. In Feb, the National Assembly passed the ‘The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill, 2016’ and ‘The Compulsory Blood Test of the Relatives of Thalassaemia Patient Bill, 2016’.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017