In a scientifically unsubstantiated claim, Pakistan Ministry of Interior has said that Pakistani children grow up faster than children elsewhere due to the hot climate and spicy cuisine of the country.
The ministry's over-the-top declaration preventing efforts to raise the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 12 has also come in the way of a bill which would criminalize child pornography, trafficking and sexual abuse.
While the claims of spicy food instigating juvenile criminal tendencies surprised the international community, Pakistani ministers, who were supporting the legislation, appeared exasperated.
Human Rights Minister Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said Pakistan would face international sanctions if it failed to formulate a legislation to raise the minimum age for prosecutions, in line with the U.N. guidelines.
These are the problems I have to deal with, he told The Daily Telegraph. It is being blocked because of an unscientific theory that children here mature faster.
The bill, drafted almost three years ago, has yet to gain approval from the cabinet because of the objections.
According to the Sharia law, children become adults at the onset of puberty. However, those who object the bill say Pakistani children attain puberty faster than others due to general poverty, hot climate, exotic and spicy food.
The Ministry of Law and Justice, which opposes the bill, said in written submission: It can be well understood that attainment of maturity of understanding depends on social, economic, climatic, dietary and environmental factors, that's why a child in our subcontinent starts understanding nature and consequences of his/her conduct much earlier than a child in the west specially because of general poverty, hot climate, exotic and spicy food which contribute towards speedy physical and mental growth of the child.
The claims have led to online forums poking fun at the ministries. There is something called evidence based research. You never fail to fascinate me, a user wrote referring to Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.