Senate passes ‘Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment)’ Bill

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12th Jul, 2021. 08:55 pm
Senate passes ‘Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment)’ Bill

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday passed “The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2021” to define torture, custody and custodial deaths inflicted by any person, police or the law-enforcement agency, under the Pakistan Penal Code.

The bill, moved by Senator Sherry Rehman, was also supported by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari. Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem said that the government always supported the opposition in legislations in favour of the public.

The bill “Custodial torture and deaths” was a worldwide phenomenon inflicted upon individuals irrespective of gender, religion, financial status, or health conditions.

The statement said this type of violation of human rights was alarming in Pakistan where brutal atrocities were perpetuated by police and other law-enforcement agencies.

It said Pakistan needed to make torture and custodial deaths criminal as an important step in stemming widespread abuse and exploitation.

The existing provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code stipulated penalties for certain acts of torture under related offenses such as “causing hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property”, “Wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property”, or provisions governing “criminal force and assault”.

However, these provisions were either vague or not comprehensive enough to be used for criminalising torture, or custodial deaths, it said.

The amendment in the PPC provided definition for ‘torture’, ‘Custody’, and ‘custodial deaths’ inflicted by any person, police, or the law-enforcement agency.

Moreover, the custodial deaths were proposed to be dealt under the offense of Qatl-e-amd (Section 300 of PPC).
The House also referred the four bills to the committees concerned for further deliberation.

The bills included the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 [The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2021], the Establishment of Ibadat International University, Islamabad [The Ibadat International University Islamabad Bill, 2021].

The bill to provide for the regulation of employment of domestic workers in the Islamabad Capital Territory [The Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Bill, 2021] and a bill further to amend the National Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2012 [The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill, 2020] were also referred to the committee concerned.

The Senate of Pakistan also referred a bill to make amendments in Rule 9 and insertion of the Fourth Schedule in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate. The bill was moved by Mian Raza Rabbani.

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