The National Assembly on Friday bulldozed six bills, including the Zainab Alert Bill 2019, a response and recovery mechanism for missing children.
It is pertinent here to mention that the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights had unanimously passed the Zainab Alert Bill on October 8, 2019.
The bill was presented by Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari in the National Assembly on the eve of Zainab’s second death annivesary, who was barbarically raped and murdered in January 2018. She( Mazari) thanked Asad Umar and People Party MNA Mehreen Razaque Bhutto for assisting the bill’s passage.
The bill will pave the way for the setting up of the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA), where missing child cases will be reported. The police officials, who delay the investigation, will get a maximum life imprisonment and action will be taken against them.
powers and functions of Zarra include the activation of alerts at the
federal capital level whenever there is a report about a missing or
abducted child. These alerts will include information on the physical
characteristics of the missing or abducted child as well as any other
data that will help in the child’s identification.
The proposed authority will also share with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for issuance of Zainab Alert SMSes and MMSes, and with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to run tickers on television channels or any other available medium.
It also envisions the setting up of a nationwide telephonic toll-free hotline number where any person may report a missing or abducted child. It also calls for the maintenance of an online database both in the National Commission of the Rights of the Child (NCRC) and the division concerned of every reported incident of a missing or abducted child.