KP cabinet okays child protection bill after removal of controversial part

Published December 1, 2021
The draft law has a 14-year prison term and Rs5 million fine for the convicts of child pornography and 10-year jail for those harassing and blackmailing children by videos. — Reuters/File
The draft law has a 14-year prison term and Rs5 million fine for the convicts of child pornography and 10-year jail for those harassing and blackmailing children by videos. — Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft Child Protection and Welfare (Amendment) Act, 2021, after removing a controversial clause for publicly releasing video recordings of the execution of the convicts of sexual assault against children.

The cabinet met here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair and ministers and administrative secretaries in attendance.

Briefing reporters about the cabinet’s decisions, higher education minister Kamran Khan Bangash said the cabinet approved amendments to the proposed Child Protection and Welfare Act.

Clause suggested release of video of assault convict’s execution

Last year, the bill was referred to a ministerial committee headed by labour minister Shaukat Yousafzai after a controversy emerged over a clause about the release of the videos of the execution of those convicted of sexual assaults against children.

Law minister Fazl Shakoor Khan told Dawn that the cabinet approved the draft of the bill prepared by the ministerial committee insisting that Pakistan was a signatory to the UN convention on human rights, so the release of execution videos would cause problems for it globally.

He said the committee’s recommendation didn’t sit well with some cabinet members, who advocated the release of execution videos to prevent crimes against children.

The minister said during the cabinet meeting, the chief minister asked the committee to look into that aspect at length.

The draft law has a 14-year prison term and Rs5 million fine for the convicts of child pornography and 10-year jail for those harassing and blackmailing children by videos.

Also, the convicts of child trafficking will be sentenced up to 25 years jail and Rs5 million fine.

In addition, the law also allows the display of the names of child assault convicts on the website of the KP Child Protection Commission and their mention in a special register.

Also, a ban will be slapped on the employment of those convicts in public and private sector organisations and use of public transport vehicles by them.

Mr Bangash said the cabinet also approved the proposed Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Book Registration (Amendment) Act, 2021, allowing the transfer of the declaration of publications to any person besides blood relations of the owners.

He, however, said the transfer would only be approved after 10 years of the initial declaration in the name of the owner.

The minister said the cabinet also approved the transfer of administrative control of the provincial ombudsman’s offices from the social welfare department to the law department.

He said since most of the ombudsman office’s affairs were legal, it would be better taken care by the law department.

Mr Bangash said that ombudsman’s office in federal and other provinces was also under the law department.

The minister said the cabinet also approved a supplementary grant of Rs2.677 billion for the supply of natural gas to districts producing it.

The cabinet also approved 10-marla plots each to all members of the Peshawar Press Club in the proposed New Peshawar Valley.

Mr Bangash also said an information complex would be set up in the proposed housing project.

He said 10-marla plots in the scheme would be given away to all 564 members of the Peshawar Press Club.

The cabinet also approved rules for the maintenance of national parks in the province.

It also approved the Management of Youth Hostels Rules, 2021, for the establishment and maintenance of hostels.

The cabinet approved the establishment of a committee for disposal of the police department’s redundant weapons on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee. Approval was also granted to the nomination of members for academic research committee meant to make recommendations for the vacancies of vice-chancellors for seven public sector universities in the province. It will be sent to the chancellor for mandatory approval.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021

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