The government wants to set up a special institution to handle the cases of missing and kidnapped children.
It wants to establish a Zainab Alert (similar to the Amber Alert in the US) that will be sounded when a child goes missing. Within two hours of a child being reported, police will have to report it to the Zainab Alert Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA).
Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tabled the bill in the National Assembly on Wednesday. If passed, the bill will set up ZARRA to recover missing children
Officers who don’t cooperate could go to jail.
The alert has been named after seven-year-old Zainab Ansari who was raped and murdered in Kasur.
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 will be set up, called MCRRTs, 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 proposed a punishment of death or life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years for people who abduct children.