ISLAMABAD - The Senate on Monday deferred consideration of a private member bill that seeks to decriminalise the attempt to commit suicide.

The house deferred the Criminal Laws Amendment Bill following lawmakers had divergent views on the proposed law that seeks to abolish the punishment in the law for those who make failed attempt to commit suicide. The bill moved by PPP Senator Shahadat Awan says that such people need medical treatment instead of punishment and they are suffering from mental disorders

The bill seeks to omits Section 325 of Pakistan Penal Code 1860 which says that “whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”

Senate Standing Committee on Interior had already passed the bill despite government’s opposition on the grounds that the law creates deterrence among citizens.

Senator Awan giving arguments in favour of his bill said that such people were generally denied immediate treatment and referred to police for medico legal purposes as attempt to commit suicide is criminal offence. He said that all this put their lives in danger.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan viewed that the opinion of religious scholars should be sought before passage of the bill.  Leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Wasim said that the act of attempted suicide should not be linked with mental disorder.

Senate pays rich tribute to former PM Benazir Bhutto

JUI-F Senator Moulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that the people facing poverty and unemployment were committing suicides and not due to mental disorders. “Suicide is prohibited in Islam.”

Parliamentary leader of PML-N in the Senate Azam Nazir Tarar said that the bill should be passed to save lives of such people who face delays in treatment.

PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz, who also heads the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, also supported the bill. Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the bill could be passed if the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has approved the draft law.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed suggested that the bill should be referred to CII. On this, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani deferred the bill with the direction that input of CII should be taken on it. The House also passed Islamabad Rent Restriction Amendment Bill moved by Senator Mohsin Aziz.

PML-N Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed introduced the Control of Narcotic Substances Bill in the House that seeks to enhance punishment for wrongfully charging a person by any law enforcement agency under the Control of Narcotics Substances Act, 1997. Also, the House offered fateha for former Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on her death anniversary. Senator Atta-ur-Rehman led the prayer. On the occasion, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan paid rich tribute to the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on her death anniversary.  He said Benazir Bhutto was the first lady prime minister of the Muslim world.