Islamabad, January 26, 2018 (PPI-OT):Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice in its meeting on Thursday considered the matter whether an amendment would be required in the Pakistan Penal Code for provision of penalty of death by hanging publicly in view of rule 354 of the Prison Rules, 1978 regarding place of execution in cases of death penalties with particular reference to the Zainab murder case.

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi here at the Parliament House and was attended among others by Senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Saleem Zia, Nehal Hashmi, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Murtaza Wahab, Abdul Rehman Mailk, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Mufti Abdul Sattar, Mohsin Leghari, Sehar Kamran, Farhatullah Babar, Sitara Ayaz, Minister for Law and Justice Bashir Ahmed Wirk, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Professor Qibla Ayaz, Senior Legislative Advisor Malik Hakam Khan, Vice Chairman Islamabad Bar Council Fiaz Ahmed Anjum and President Islamabad High Court Bar Association Arif Chaudhry.

The Committee underwent detailed discussion on the matter. Most of the members of the Committee and special invitees agreed that while deciding anything on the issue and while giving any recommendations members and other stakeholders should not be driven by emotions and there is a need to consider the adverse psychological effects, a public hanging of the culprit can put on society. It was also discussed that death penalty for the said crime is already in effect.

The Committee also agreed that any such decision of validating public hanging will increase probability of miscarriage of justice in the already weak criminal justice system. The Committee also discussed the relationship between deterrence and occurrence of crime. Members of the Committee agreed with the view of the Attorney General that it is not the severity of punishment but the certainty of punishment that serves as deterrence of crime.

The Committee also debated the effects of making person specific or incident specific laws and the harm public hanging can do to dignity of man. The Attorney General also informed the Committee that a legislation to this effect was provided through an Act of Parliament in 1992 which was struck down by the Supreme Court due to violation of fundamental human rights. The Committee decided to send the matter to CII for their view and hear representatives of provincial jail administration in the next meeting before reaching a decision.

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