27 February 2021
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The National Assembly passed on Tuesday a bill to criminalise all forms of corporal punishment at workplaces, educational institutions and rehabilitation centres in Islamabad.
The bill was tabled by PML-N MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz. It will become a law after Senate passes it and the president signs it.
The new law would also cancel provisions of Section 89 of the PPC that allows teachers and guardians to administer physical punishment “in good faith” and “for the benefit” of the child. It allows the authorities to sack or suspend those violating the law.
It prohibits all forms of corporal punishment of children in the following places:
Work
Schools and educational institutions
Child care institutions
Rehabilitation centres
Any other alternative care setting
“Disciplinary measures concerning the child can only be taken in accordance with the child’s dignity, and under no circumstances corporal punishment, or punishments which relate to child’s physical and mental development or which may affect the child’s emotional status are allowed,” the bill states.
It has set the following punishments for the violators.
Minor penalties
Censure
Withholding promotion or increment
No promotion
Recovery of any pecuniary loss cause to the government
Major penalties
Demotion
Compulsory retirement
Removal from service
Dismissal from service
The federal government will devise a “comprehensive system” to implement the law in registered and unregistered institutions, according to the draft.
Private institutions will have to assure the authorities that they comply with the new law. If they failed to do so, their registration would be cancelled.
‘Law not enough protect children’
Aziz said the new law alone won’t be enough to protect children. “The mindset that legitimizes corporal punishment needs to be changed through informative awareness campaigns,” she said.
Various human rights organizations and rights activists have long been advocating for a law to criminalize corporal punishment.
Renowned singer and founder of Zindagi Trust Shehzad Roy had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against corporal punishment in educational institutions. On his petition, the court had banned such punishments.
“When a child gets physical punishment, society is telling them – and an entire generation – that violence is a valid means of resolving a problem,” Roy said after the assembly passed the bill. “This law will not just protect our children but also lay the foundation for a safer, kinder and more peaceful Pakistan.”
There is a need to launch a mass awareness campaign to tell educators and caretakers that corporal punishment is harmful for children and there are other healthy ways to discipline them, he added.
The story was originally published on February 23.

Abdul Gh Lone

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