The widely-debated legislation has been named after Zainab, the seven-year-old girl, who was kidnapped in Kasur, raped and brutally killed in 2018, leading to an unprecedented outcry, anguish and rallies across Pakistan. The draft law will have its outreach across Pakistan, previously, it was confined to Islamabad.
According to the bill, upon receiving information that a child is missing, the officer in charge of the police station will reduce the same into writing in the same manner as prescribed for a cognisable offence under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and will be mandated to start an investigation of the case and recover the missing child. The provisions of CrPC will apply to the proceedings carried out under the Zainab Alert Bill, except in case of juvenile suspects who will be dealt with under the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.
In coordination with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), messages will be generated to all service providers regarding the child. The information will be sent to all electronic and print media as well as radio stations to disseminate. In the case of a child’s disappearance, the police will have to immediately file a first information report (FIR). If the officials do not cooperate and fail to register an FIR, the responsible official will be slapped with a fine of Rs100,000 and sentenced to prison for two years.