Senate body discusses public executions, debates on social consequences


ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice in its meeting on Wednesday further discussed the matter of whether an amendment would be required in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for the provision of a death penalty by hanging publicly in view of rule 354 of the Prisons Rules, 1978, along with the Criminal Laws (offences relating to kidnapping or abducting a child) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 introduced by Senators Abdul Rehman Malik, Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani, Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Shahi Syed.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi here at the Parliament House and was attended by Senators Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Rehman Malik, Mohsin Leghari, Sassui Palijo, Mukhtar Ahmed Dhamara, Law and Justice Minister Bashir Ahmed Virk, law secretary, representatives from provincial home departments and the Islamabad Bar Council vice chairman.

The committee chairman presented the question of whether the existing mechanism for hanging such criminals is sufficient or amendments should be made in Prison Rules or PPC to provide for public hangings before the special invitees and the members.

Islamic Ideology Council (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz told the meeting that the CII is of the view that the Prison Rules already provide for a provision of 12 witnesses during hangings. He said that this covers the concept of a public hanging and instead of having a hanging carried out at a public place it should be done within jail premises with witnesses who can range between 3 and 40 years old, according to Islamic provisions. Additionally, the media can be used to make the public aware of the hanging.

Representatives from provincial home departments collectively supported the idea of hanging in jail premises. They were of the view that it’s the certainty of punishment that serves as a better deterrent than the severity of punishment. They said that a public hanging can not only have a law and order situation but also put an adverse psychological impact on the minds of minors and other factions of society.

The Law Ministry also said that they believe that the current mechanism is sufficient and opined that before undertaking any such legislation, the Supreme Court’s (SC) 1994 judgement of banning public hangings needs to be kept in view.

The committee asked the ministry to give its views on the amendment’s requirement and the SC’s judgement in writing by next week.