Update on Corporal Punishment- ICT Bill passed by the parliament of Pakistan

On 17th November 2021, the parliament of Pakistan passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill which prohibits all forms of corporal punishment at work places and educational institutions (both public and private). This bill will now be called the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act.

This Act follows the ICT Corporal Punishment Bill which was passed recently in the National Assembly in February 2021. Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, a member of the National Assembly and Chairperson of SDGs Committee on Child Rights, led this private bill in the Assembly with the support from our founder, Shehzad Roy. Endorsing the bill, speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser has said:

Corporal punishment is an unacceptable act in the mental development of children. It is our common responsibility to provide a safe environment in the process of education. National Assembly has passed a bill to ban corporal punishment of children, which will play a key role in preventing such a move[1].

Several studies have reported that exposure to physical harm and aggression at a young age negatively impacts the mental and physical health of a child and can lead to long-term psychological damage[2]. In 2015, UNICEF collected data on corporal punishment from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam and found a link between poor math scores and corporal punishment in children of different ages[3], which further indicates how physical violence can affect academic performance and lead to learning losses.

It is heartwarming to see that our efforts over the years in the form of campaigns and through advocacy are coming to fruition and children all around Pakistan will now be treated with dignity and respect, a basic human right. This accomplishment has only been possible with support from our donors and lawmakers.

On this momentous occasion, we would also like to express our gratitude to Mehnaz Akber Aziz, for spearheading the movement and helping pave the way for the safety of our children in Pakistan through policy legislation.

[1] Altaf, A. (2021, February 23). Na passes bill to prohibit corporal punishment of children. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.bolnews.com/pakistan/2021/02/na-passes-bill-to-prohibit-corporal-punishment-of-children/

[2] Bryan, J. W., & Freed, F. W. (1982). Corporal punishment: Normative data and sociological and psychological correlates in a community college population. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 11, 77-87.

[3] Oganda Portela, M.J. and K. Pells (2015). Corporal Punishment in Schools: Longitudinal Evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam, Innocenti Discussion Paper No. 2015-02, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.