The federal cabinet has rolled back its plan to legislate against child pornography. It has also decided against making corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities mandatory for companies through the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the human rights ministry informed the cabinet that laws against child pornography already existed and there was no need to legislate on the matter.
Most members of the cabinet were of the view that implementation of the existing law should be stepped up. Some, however, wanted stricter laws to curb the crime and introducing the capital punishment for the offenders. The cabinet was informed that a bill proposing the death penalty for child pornography offenders was drafted. The parliamentary committee on human rights recommended changing the punishment of death sentence to life imprisonment and the National Assembly recently passed the bill.
Is this the right decision?
Certainly not. More measures need to be taken to curb such crimes. Last year, the Rawalpindi police arrested a man over charges of abducting and sexually assaulting over 30 children in different cities of the country, only to discover that he was the ringleader of an international child pornography. He was a convicted paedophile deported from the UK and Italy after spending four years in jail abroad and working as consultant to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government at the time of his arrest.
During interrogation, he confessed that he had raped over 30 children and uploaded videos of the assaults to the dark web.
In 2015, the country was shocked by child pornography cases in Kasur wherein at least 280 boys under the age of 14 were raped and filmed. The videos were then sent to the parents and families of the victims to extort them.
All of this won’t have happened if the existing laws held any power.