KARACHI: Madadgaar has filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan under Article 184 Section 3 of the Constitution of Pakistan to defend the right to protection of missing, kidnapped, trafficked, street and beggar children of Pakistan.
This was told by the founder of Madadgaar National Helpline and National Child Commissioner Zia Awan Advocate at the premises of SC bench here.
Zia spoke of rapidly increasing numbers of missing, kidnapped and trafficked children and huge populations of beggars and street children filling the streets across the Metropolis and the country.
He highlighted this phenomenon as a national concern considering which Madadgaar has filed this petition pleading to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take cognizance of this situation as it is the only resort left for seeking justice in the country.
While sharing the details of the Public Interest Litigation he mentioned 37 State respondents of this case include both federal and provincial ministries and departments inclusive of Gilgit Baltistan who are related to the matters of the case such as Federal Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination, Federal Ministry of Interior and Provincial Home departments, the Capital Police and Provincial Police Departments, National Database & Registration Authority, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Federal Ministry of Human Rights, National Commission on Human Rights and Provincial Human Rights Commissions, National Commission on Status of Women, Provincial Social Welfare Departments, Federal Investigation Authority, Child Protection & Welfare Bureau Punjab, Sindh Child Protection Authority, Child Protection and Welfare Commission Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Provincial Women Development Departments and Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights department of Sindh.
Zia Awan said that Madadgaar National Helpline is backing it with research based evidence and reporting from both public and private sectors including that of Madadgaar.
While speaking of the demands made in this Public Interest Litigation Zia Awan shared that we want all the respondent government departments to reveal their strategies they developed for children if any, develop mechanisms to address the issue of inter-provincial coordination and cooperation for rescue, recovery and reunification of missing, kidnapped, trafficked and street children, present for review their agreements with neighboring countries regarding trafficking and migration, the support they receive internationally and locally to do this job and their results and develop comprehensive national level information management system of missing, kidnapped, trafficked, street and beggar children etc.
He further added that Civil Society is vastly accused of taking foreign funding and not delivering, in this case we will be asking the State to present details of what has been given to them already by foreign and local sources to protect the children of the country and their impact on child protection.
Zia stated that according to Madadgaar National Helpline statistics of the year 2016 (gathered from the Police Control) a total of 2,135 cases of missing children were reported to Police in Karachi alone whereas nation-wide Madadgaar helped parents of 2,251 children to find their loved ones.
Other national and international statistics suggest that there are approximately 1.5 million street children in Pakistan and that in year 2015, 576 children were trafficked in Pakistan, he said.
He also shared that according to Madadgaar’s media reporting database of violence against children, 52 cases of trafficking, 472 cases of kidnapping and 115 cases of missing children were reported in media during year 2016 across Pakistan.
He said that the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan addresses child protection in a number of articles and the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) also outlines the fundamental rights of children’s protection. Pakistan signed and ratified the treaty in 1990.
He highlighted that under UNCRC Articles 11 (Kidnapping) and 35 (Abduction, sale and trafficking) it is the responsibility of government to take all measures, whether legislative, administrative or operational, to make sure that children are not kidnapped, abandoned or trafficked.
Zia Awan stated that State has failed the children of our nation for not providing them protection from being missed, kidnapped or trafficked.
He said that protection of these children is not on the agenda of any of the provincial governments for that nothing has been done in this regard.
Zia Awan added that analysis of Tayyaba and child porn incidents in Punjab, child rape and kidnapping incidents in Sindh, corporal punishment and abuse of street children incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and child trafficking and human slavery incidents in Balochistan; proves the authenticity of aforementioned argument.