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Pakistan bans Corporal Punishment

Sir Frank Peters :: PAKISTAN this week made a giant leap forward towards joining the noble nations of the world that are protective of its young – and their future. It is preparing the groundwork to abolish corporal punishment in public and private schools and care institutions.

Much to the delight and loud cheers of every school pupil throughout the nation, the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on Interior has unanimously approved “The Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2017”.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who moved the bill, is seen as the saviour and hero to the millions of pupils who faced inhumane treatment daily at the hands of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in hell-hole institutions throughout Pakistan.

Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, convenor of the committee, said the bill is very important as the best training and protection of children is mandatory. “Due to absence of the best teachers, physical punishment in our schools has badly affected personality of our children,” he said.

Senator Mashhadi said the bill should be passed from provincial assemblies and to bring awareness among children and guardians, he recommended displaying the bill on notice boards in schools. Senator Syed Shibli Faraz promised the bill would be implemented strictly because the actions of some teachers badly affect the personality of children.

Another lawmaker, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, opined there is a precedent of appointment of female teachers in schools across the world for personality development of children and recommended the need to appoint more female teachers in the schools.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who proposed the bill, said: “It is the responsibility of the state to protect the dignity of children. Corporal or physical punishment is common and rampant in our schools as well as in care institutions and that has to stop.”

He also said that physical punishment is used as a tool to show control and authority in schools and care institutions, therefore within the institutional framework of the classroom; corporal punishment must be banned and replaced with constructive and communicative approach.

Recently, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, declared that Islam strictly prohibits physical punishment of both males and females.

If the mentality of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in Pakistan were anything like their counterparts in Bangladesh, this writer would advise Senator Mandviwalla not to hold his breath while waiting for the ban to take full effect.

It’s been six years since Bangladesh banned corporal punishment in schools and madrasahs, but the despicable punishment, abuse and evil doing still persists in the classrooms of schools and madrasas throughout the nation.

When noble High Court Justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed corporal punishment, they defined it as ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.

There is mountain high irrefutable evidence that proves beyond all doubt that corporal punishment is of no benefit to child or society whatsoever. There is nothing good to be said about it. Its intended use on a student to correct misbehaviour has long been proved by literally thousands of comprehensive studies worldwide to be an ineffective and inappropriate school discipline measure. Unfortunately, there are still lawbreakers within the noble teaching profession in Bangladesh who are unable to shake off their beliefs founded on, and fuelled, by sheer ignorance.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor and human rights activist.)

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