After an amendment was proposed in the Provincial Assembly of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), calling for permission by the relevant authorities to film the execution of a convicted sex offender preying on children and later make the video public to serve as a warning against such heinous acts, civil society has raised serious and strong concerns over the proposed amendment.
Civil society has said that it was against the constitutional provisions and the top court’s verdict.
Raising questions on the proposed amendment to the KP Child Protection and Welfare (Amendment) Act 2010, members of the civil society challenged the legality of the amendment.
The Child Rights Movement (CRM) in KP, while challenging the legality of the amendment approved by the provincial government, said “The government had decided to introduce amendments to increase deterrence against the menace of child abuse in the province. But it would be challenged if passed in its form due to violation of the constitution.”
Valrie Khan, a child rights activist, said the top court had described the public hanging of even the worst of criminals, a violation of human dignity.
“Article 45 of the constitution empowers the President to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit a sentence passed by any court or tribunal, while clause (c) of Section 54A of the proposed Bill prohibits any such remission in punishment, which is ultra vires of the constitution,” she said.
“It has also been proposed in the Bill that the proceedings of the death penalty would be recorded and would be made available to the public. Top court had described public hanging for even the worst of criminals as a violation of the rights of human dignity enshrined in Article 14 of the constitution,” she added.
The CRM highlighted that if a criminal law or criminal procedure passed by the province was not in line with the law made by Parliament, it would be the Law of Parliament that would prevail.
“The proposed Bill violated Article 45 by taking away the power of the President to remit the punishment and against Article 143 of the constitution by proposing a provincial criminal law, inconsistent with the federal criminal law on the subject,” said Sana Ahmed, the CRM provincial coordinator.
Civil society has also expressed concern that the provincial government and the department behind the proposed amendment ignored taking any inputs from civil society on the matter, as they were not made part of the consultative process.