The National Assembly passed on Tuesday a bill to criminalize all forms of corporal punishment at workplaces, educational institutions and rehabilitation centres in Islamabad.
The private member bill was tabled in the assembly by PML-N MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz. It will now be tabled in the Senate.
The bill allows the authorities to sack or suspend those violating the law.
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.
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.
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 the 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.