The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the Control of Narcotics Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to abolish death penalty for drug-related offences.
The bill was a part of a supplementary agenda and moved by Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan in the house.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says that in section 9(c) of the Control of Narcotics Substances Act, 1997 (CNSA) punishment of death is proposed to be substituted with imprisonment for life. The death penalty is used in a disproportionate manner under the CNSA that violates the fundamental right to live which happens to be the most basic of all human rights.
The risk of executing innocent people in narcotics cases exists and the arbitrary application of the death penalty can never be ruled out under the said law, it added.
In September this year, President Dr Arif Alvi assented to the Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which provides death or life imprisonment for offences related to the illicit trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic drugs of varying quantity, including heroin, morphine, cocaine and methamphetamine (ICE).
The Act provides for maximum punishment if the offence involving a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance is committed inside or near a school, college, university, educational setting or any other educational institution.
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The bill, after the president’s assent in terms of Article 75 of the Constitution of Pakistan, became the Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2022.
The Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2022 (the said Act) provides imprisonment which may extend to life imprisonment but not less than 20 years with a fine not less than Rs1 million for offences involving Heroin and Morphine of 4kg or more.
The said Act also provides a punishment of death or imprisonment which shall not be less than life, along with a fine up to 2 million but not less than 1.5 million rupees for offences involving Heroin or Morphine of 6 kg or more.
It provides punishment of death or imprisonment for life but imprisonment shall not be less than 20 years along with a fine not less than 2.5 million rupees for offences involving Cocaine of 5 kg or more.
The Act also provides punishment of death or life imprisonment and a fine not less than Rs2.5 million for offences involving 4 kg or more of psychotropic substance methamphetamine (ICE).