ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Child Abuse on Monday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to submit a report on the dark web and if child pornography is uploaded on it from Pakistan.
During the meeting of the committee, chaired by State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ali Mohammad Khan pointed out that there is no reliable record for the number of children who are sexually abused in Pakistan.
“The reports coming from various sources are alarming. Some of them claim videos are uploaded on the dark web from Pakistan. We need to look into this and find out who is behind this. I have even gotten to know that children are kidnapped, raped and killed according to the desires of users of the dark web and the videos of these are then uploaded,” he said.
Mr Khan suggested the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and its Cyber Crime Wing should be directed to look into it and that the culprits be hanged in public.
“We might face pressure from the UN and human rights organisations but we have to do this to save our children. Iran and Saudi Arabia are already doing this,” he said.
He added that PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the Punjab chief minister have also demanded that those responsible for child sexual abuse should be hanged in public and that the government should therefore not succumb to international pressure.
The debate regarding the punishment for child sexual abuse started after the case of seven-year-old Zainab who was kidnapped on Jan 4 in Kasur and was killed after being sexually abused.
A few days later, four-year-old Asma was killed in Gujjar Garhi in Mardan. After these two cases, the public has been demanding legislation regarding the appropriate punishment for child sexual abuse. A special committee was then made with direction to suggest new legislation in this regard in a month.
Ms Aurangzeb on Monday directed that a letter be written to the PTA, asking it to submit a detailed report over the dark web. She also directed the Ministry of Law and Justice to consider if hangings in public will be possible.
Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services Mohammad Rashid suggested child abuse and murder should be made non-cognisable crimes to ensure families do not patch-up with the culprits.
MNA Shaista Pervaiz agreed that child abuse should be made a non-cognisable offence but disagreed with the hangings in public.
A representative of the Punjab Education Department, Abdul Qayum said arrangements are being made to have awareness regarding child sexual abuse included in the curriculum.
“Moreover, as many as 600,000 booklets have been distributed in schools and religious personalities are also getting involved in raising awareness about the issue. Four booklets are being made for students in different classes,” he said.
The committee decided to make the cases of Zainab and Asma test cases and decided to call the chief secretaries and inspectors general of police of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the direction to submit detailed reports of the cases and suggestions for future strategy to stop such crimes from happening.
The committee chairperson said that there was a problem with the implementation of the laws and that the police do not register cases immediately due to which even collecting DNA samples is not possible. She said suggestions for laws in this regard will be made in other meetings.