National Assembly passes Zainab Alert Bill for recovery of missing children and to prevent child abuse
The National Assembly on Friday passed the Zainab Alert Bill 2019, which will introduce a response and recovery mechanism for missing children.
The bill was passed two years after the body of nine-year-old Zainab Ansari, a rape-murder victim, was found in Kasur in 2018. It was presented by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari in June last year.
The bill proposes a maximum sentence to perpetrators of child sexual abuse to be life imprisonment with a fine of Rs1 million while the minimum sentence will be 10 years.
It also makes it mandatory for police officers to take action in a child abuse case within two hours of it being reported and proposes action against those officers who delay the investigation.
Further, a helpline will also be established to report missing children.
Zainab Alert Response and Recovery Agency will be set up after the bill is passed by the Senate.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Javed Friday praised the National Assembly (NA) for passing the Zainab Alert bill and urged provincial assemblies to also follow suit.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar hoped that the bill would also be passed in the Senate, as the protection of the country’s minor children should be the prime responsibility of the country’s lawmakers as well of the state.