The National Assembly on Friday approved the Zainab Alert, Recovery and Response Bill, 2019, exactly two years after the body of nine-year-old Zainab Ansari, a rape-murder victim, was found in Kasur in 2018. The bill was presented by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari.
Under the bill passed on Friday, the maximum sentence handed down to perpetrators of child sexual abuse will be life imprisonment with a fine of Rs1 million while the minimum sentence will be for 10 years.
Further, a helpline will also be established to report missing children while an agency, for issuing an alert for missing children, will also be set up.
The bill also proposes taking action against police officials who cause unnecessary delay in investigating such cases, adding that those who fail to respond to the alert within two hours may also face action.
Speaking during the session, Federal Planning, Development and Reforms Minister Asad Umar said that all cases involving the kidnapping, rape and murder of minor children will be required to complete investigations within three months.
This bill was proposed in August 2018. Though the decision came bit a late, there is no doubt that this bill will help in curbing sexual abuse crimes against children.