Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights for consideration of “The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Bill, 2021” was held under the Chair of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar here at the Parliament House on Tuesday.
A Private Member’s Bill, titled “The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2021” which has been introduced by the Chairman Committee Senator Walid Iqbal and Senator Saadia Abbasi in its Senate sitting held on 27th September, 2021, was deliberated upon in detail.
At the outset of the meeting, the Chairman Committee, considering the fact that he is Member-in-Charge of the Bill along with Senator Saadia Abbasi and in order to avoid any impression of conflict of interest, excused himself from chairing the meeting. Accordingly, the Committee in terms of sub-rule (3) of rule 175 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, opted for Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar to act as Chairman for the present sitting.
The Bill was earlier moved by Senator Saadia Abbasi which was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights for consideration. The committee reviewed the Bill in detail and made significant amendments to the same, after consensus with various religious and non-religious groups, however, due to lapse of the stipulated ninety days’ time, the Bill could not be passed. The bill was again been introduced in the Senate in its revised and amended form and transferred to the Senate Standing Committee for Human Rights for Submission of its report within one day.
The Committee on Tuesday, under the Chairmanship of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar again deliberated upon the Bill in detail and passed the Bill unanimously after clause-wise reading of the bill with minor changes.
The Bill prohibits corporal punishment against children by any person or care institution, which includes all types of education institution including formal and non-formal, and religious both public and private, in child care institutions including foster care, rehabilitation centers and any other alternative care settings both public and private, as well as a the workplace; The Bill provides for comprehensive punishment for employees of child care institution, educational institution and workplace who are responsible for inflicting corporal punishment. These include major and minor penalties including dismissal from service.
The essence of the Bill lies in the fact that a child has the right to be shown respect for his personality and individuality and shall not be made subject to corporal punishment. It has been noted by the educationist, psychologists and physicians around the globe that physical punishment of children effects the mental cognitive development negatively. Studies have proved that corporal punishment and uncongenial learning environment creates a number of psycho-social imbalances in the personalities of children including aggression. Experts have consensus that physical Punishment can have adverse consequences on the child’s health particularly their behavior and emotional wellbeing. One of the reasons attributed to the higher drop-out rate in schools and low learning out comes of students is physical punishment and castigation of pupils by the teachers.
The committee members were of the view that this Bill shall not only be confined to the Islamabad Capital Authority but shall be extended in Provinces as well. It was noted that such cases of injuries inflicted by teachers on their students are regularly reported by the media more in the Provinces. The committee discussed all the possibilities to legislate for the Provinces. The Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights informed the committee that there are certain lacunas in the mechanism of the Bill, which will cause hindrance to its implementation in the Provinces; however the Ministry will make efforts in letter and spirit to extend the Bill in the Provinces. The Secretary Ministry added that there are total 8000 madrassas in the country out of which 35% madrasas are unregistered. The objective of the Bill is to work in accordance with the United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) ratified by Pakistan, therefore corporal punishment should be banned legally and declared and offense through an the Act.
The meeting was attended by Senator Walid Iqbal, Mushahis Hussain Sayed, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Gurdeep Singh, Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Seeme Ezdi, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Falak Naz, Faisal Ali Subzwari and Sebator Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani. Senior officials from the Ministry of Human Rights were also in attendance.