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Only 30pc of children registered in Pakistan, Senate body told

ISLAMABAD: Only 30pc of children are registered in Pakistan, which also makes it difficult to identify children in cases of death and untoward instances, the Ministry of Human Rights told a parliamentary committee.

The Senate Special Committee on the Issue of Increasing Incidents of Child Abuse met on Monday at Parliament House with Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair.

Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Rabiya Javeri Agha said the protection of children is a huge challenge.

“The laws are very clear but their implementation is a challenge. As per the directions of the committee, we have written letters to the provinces, asking them for data about incidents with children but we have not received a reply. The ministry is relying on private data and is serious about making a credible database,” she said.

Ms Agha said the best child protection centre is in Punjab and that though there is a child protection centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, its performance is not up to the mark due to a lack of resources.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Islamabad Faisal Ali said that during the last five years, 260 non-registered and 300 registered cases have come into the police’s knowledge.

“Police stations have been directed to register cases of missing children without delay and special barracks have been made for children who are arrested for seeking alms,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said there is no mechanism for exchanging data between the police and the Federal Investigation Agency.

The committee was informed that 3,445 cases of child abuse have been reported last year, according to data collected by NGOs.

Senator Sadiq said the surge in cases of child sexual abuse is an important point to note. She expressed annoyance that the Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari was not attending the meeting and said she had not been there in the last one either.

A representative of the ministry informed the chair that the minister was in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that according to government data, some 25 million children are currently out of school.

He wondered why underage offenders are not kept in juvenile centres even though such a facility exists in KP.

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