ISLAMABAD - More than two-dozen laws are existed at provincial and federal level with regard to the child protection and children rights but these are not being implemented. Failure of governance at different levels has plagued country and all resources of the state are not being used for the welfare of masses rather are being exploited for the vested interests.  The state will have to act and cannot turn a blind eye to the rights of the children.

Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani said this while participating in a panel discussion on "Child Protection Agenda 2017: Ending Child Marriages and Child Domestic Labour" organised by the AGHS Child Rights Unit, an NGO, on Tuesday.  Federal Ombudsman Suleman Farooqi, human rights activist Hina Jillani, Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women Ms Khawar Mumtaz and journalist Syed Tallat Hussain also addressed the event.

The Chairman Senate said that effective implementation of the existing laws with regard to child protection, including child labour and underage marriages, could substantially improve the situation but this could not be possible without the active role of the state and state institutions, which were not ready to act at present. 

He said that the provincial and federal institutions responsible for implementation of these laws were not even in position to give the details of these laws. The issue of child protection cannot be eradicated without understanding its context as it closely associated with the poverty and ignorance in the society. 

Rabbani said that Senate had adopted a bill unanimously on 'Unattended Orphans" which was subsequently sent to the National Assembly but it had not been considered as yet. "We are now planning to move the said draft bill during the joint sitting of the Parliament," he said.  He said that Senate was very much alive to such important issues however; the parliamentarians should further be sensitised. We mostly take up the issue when it comes to the limelight but a proper follow-up is missing, he viewed.

The Chairman Senate said that the issues regarding the child protection and child marriages must be taken up in the Council of Common Interest (CCI) and blame for failure of the different institutions should not be put on the 18th Amendment as many of such issues were very chronic in nature.

Mian Raza Rabbani said that the State of Pakistan was in the hands of the ruling elite that wanted to maintain a status-co and was not willing to accept that the country should be governed as per aspirations of the people. The human rights organisations are the only oxygen available to the society and if these institutions are compromised, it would be disastrous for the country. He said that efforts had been made to make the Senate a transparent institution, however, all the segments of society should play a collective role to overcome the serious issues confronting the country.