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Senate criticises Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2016

ISLAMABAD: Subsequent to the the Women’s Protection Bill, regulation on shielding children against violence has also met with strong dutiful oppositions in the Senate.

PML-N Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi stated the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2016 as “against the spirit of Islam”

According to the bill, it clashes with bodily or physical reprimand to children up to the age of 18 years. It says that a child cannot be disciplined by hitting (smacking, slapping, spanking), with a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc.

It also prohibits reprimand by hauling hair or thumping ears, compelling a child to stay in painful positions, scolding or compulsory eating, for example forcing a child to gulp hot spices or coating a child’s mouth with soap.

A child can camp an objection with a judge if chastised in such a way.

PML-N Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi intensely responded to the subjects of the bill.

According to bill, a father can be arrested just for giving an angry look to his children. Islam, on the other hand says ‘be strict with your children if they don’t offer prayers. So, the bill is not practical and against the spirit of Islam

Likewise, school teachers have to be firm with students to restraint them. “But [teachers] should not be allowed to mete out physical punishment,” Senator Abbasi accepted.

We cannot countenance parents standing in the courts because of their children’s complaints. All activities inside a house should be excluded from the bill. Juvenile law is already there to deal with other situations

I suggest that the opinion of religious scholars should be sought because the bill proposes punishment to parents on the complaint of their children.

The Senate Committee’s Chairman, Senator Rehman Malik of PPP recognised that the law should not be very punitive for parents because a child can notify police even if a father stops his child from going out because it is cold outdoor.

“A child can also be used by mother or father going through a divorce,” the former interior minister said, suggesting all law secretaries be called to discuss the bill.

This is not a big deal. We have all been slapped and punished a little by our parents,” he said. “But if the bill is passed in its present form, the rights of children will surpass those of their parents’.

Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said the bill was “acceptable” except for the word ‘scolding’. “Unfortunately, we invoke Islam whenever we want to stop something,” he said.