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Monday Feb 24 2020
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Senate's human rights committee approves changes in Zainab Alert Bill

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Photo: Files

Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Monday approved changes in the Zainab Alert Bill which will now be presented in the Upper House for approval on March 2, Geo News reported.

If the bill passes in Senate, it will be implemented across the country, as compared to the previous version which was applicable only in Islamabad. 

An agency will be set up whose director-general 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.

Read more: National Assembly passes Zainab Alert Bill for recovery of missing children

Special Courts will hear child molestation cases if the bill passes in Senate, said the committee's chairperson Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar.

In case of a child's disappearance the police, according to Khokar, will have to immediately file a first information report (FIR).

If the officials do not cooperate and fail to register an FIR, the said official will be slapped with a fine of Rs0.1 million and sentenced to prison for two years.

Read more: What you need to know about the Zainab Alert Bill

The chairperson said he was hopeful that if the bill was implemented it will reduce the cases of  child molestation across the country.

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 National Assembly on January 10 passed the Zainab Alert Bill 2019, to introduce a response and recovery mechanism for missing children. The lower house's Standing Committee on Human Rights had unanimously passed the Zainab Alert Bill on October 8, 2019.