Saturday Jan 11, 2020
On Friday, the parliament passed the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act, 2020, eight months after it was first tabled. The bill, which will become law once approved by the Senate, aims to protect and raise alert when a child goes missing or is abducted.
The legislation has been named after Zainab, a six-year-old girl, who was kidnapped from her home in Kasur, and then raped and killed in 2018.
The Act applies to only Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad and defines the child as anyone under the age of 18 years.
-Under the new law, a Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA) will be set up. The director general of the Agency will be appointed by the prime minister. It will be tasked to maintain a database of missing and abducted children, and work closely with the helpline, 1099, which will forward all reported cases to the Agency.
-In case a child is reported missing, the ZARRA will activate alerts across the federal capital. Information, such as the child’s physical characteristics, habits, clothes ect, will be send to all relevant law enforcement agencies and the public at large.
-In coordinate with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, messages will generated to all service providers regarding the child. Also the information will be sent to all electronic and print media as well as radio stations to disseminate.