Parliament passes Zainab Alert Bill for recovery of missing children

Agency will be formed to investigate, facilitate cases
Jan 10, 2020

The National Assembly has passed the Zainab Alert Bill.

During Friday's session, the government and opposition unanimously passed the bill that will introduce a response and recovery mechanism for missing children.

It was presented on October 8, 2019 and presented before a standing committee on Thursday.

An agency will be set up under this bill that will closely work with the 1099 helpline and other helplines in several districts. When a complaint is made via these helplines, it should be immediately transferred to the agency so an investigation can immediately begin.

Zainab Alert has been named after seven-year-old Zainab Ansari who was raped and murdered in Kasur. Her case sparked national outrage and a conversation about child abuse.

The agency will operate out of Islamabad and engage the PTA, social media and other institutions to create a helpline and SMS service to spread information about missing children.

Special teams, called MCRRTs, will be set up and headed by a senior police officer. These teams will work with the local police in the cases of missing children.

The bill has proposed the death sentence, life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years for people who abduct children.

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