Lahore, May 6 : Students learning the Quran in madarassas in Pakistan's Punjab province continue to be subjected to corporal punishment even three years after the Punjab government banned corporal punishment in all its schools.
Since the madarassas are out of the purview of the government schools management, they are not bound to follow government's orders or regulations.
There are around 5000 madrassas in the province affiliated with the Wafaqul Madaris (association of madrassas). In 2005, the Punjab government had banned corporal punishment in schools and notice boards put inside and outside all public and private schools in the province carried instructions about the ban on corporal punishment.
However, the government had ignored the madrassas and no such board was put up in any madrassa of the province, reported the Daily Times.
Madrassa administrations do not let the human rights activists to intervene in their affairs, and continue with corporal punishment on students, as a result of which many madrassa students have given up studies after getting fed up of the corporal punishment meted out to them.
Rashid Aziz, a human rights activist, said that corporal punishment on children was a worldwide problem. He said society and human rights institutions could not raise the issue with reference to madrassas since the madrassa administrations did not tolerate any intervention.
According to him, madrassa administrations defended corporal punishment as "a good method to educate students". "Corporal punishment in madrassas is a culturally accepted form of child abuse," he said and demanded that the government repeal Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which provides legal cover to anyone physically abusing a child.
Section 89 of the PPC says that any "act done in good faith for [the] benefit of a person under twelve years of age" is not an offence even if the person knows that his action would cause the child harm.