­LAHORE -  The Punjab is on the top in child rights’ violations with 63 percent kids’ abuse cases while Child Protection and Welfare Bureau could rescue only 11 children during the current year, statistics issued by the bureau revealed.

As per a report of Sahil, a private organisation working on child rights, a total of 3,445 child abuse cases were reported in newspapers from across Pakistan during the year 2017, out of which 63 percent cases were from the Punjab, 27 percent from Sindh, 4 percent from Balochistan, 3 percent from Islamabad and 2 percent from KP. 12 cases were reported in newspapers from AJK and 3 cases from GB.

The data reveals more than nine children were abused daily during 2017. Major crime categories of the reported cases were – abductions 1039, missing children 517, rape 467, sodomy 366, rape attempt 206, sodomy 180, gang-rape 158 and child marriages 109.

One can observe the interest of the rulers in protecting children’s rights from the fact that not even a single meeting of board of governors of CP&WB Punjab was held after 2007.

It is worth mentioning here that the Punjab chief minister is the chairman of the board of governors and he is supposed to convene and chair the meeting of the CP&WB.

The story does not end here. When all mainstream political parties issued their manifestos ahead of general elections 2018, no party except Pakistan People’s Party mentioned children’s rights in their manifestos.

United Nation Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) was implemented in 1991. Pakistan is not only one of the signatories but also it ratified the UNCRC in 1995.

The CP&WB was established in 2004 under Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children (PD&NC) Act, 2004. The act was amended in 2007 and 2017. After amendment in 2017, the CP&WB was given the task to regularise all the institutions working on children. But no such institution has so far been registered with the CP&WB in the Punjab.

Sahil working on child protection with special focus on sexual abuse has been publishing cruel number reports for the last 17 years, which is based on data collected through monitoring online and printed newspapers, direct cases received at Sahil offices for free legal aid while cases are also shared by other organisations.

Cruel numbers of 2017 compiled by Sahil show that 109 cases were reported as murders after sexual abuse. It further shows 9% increase as compared to 100 cases reported in 2016. A gender analysis shows that 58% girls and 42% boys were murdered after sexual abuse in 2017.

It is evident from the statistics of cruel numbers that out of total reported 3,445 cases, 60% victims (2,077) were girls and 40% (1,368) were boys.

This year out of total reported 3,445 cases, 29% incidents occurred at closed places and 15% at open places. No place was mentioned in newspapers in 1,790 cases. Out of total reported cases, 76% were from rural areas and 24% cases from urban areas

A CP&WB director, seeking anonymity, said the bureau deals with destitute children and rescues them from roads and streets. He claimed: “At a time the bureau entertains around 400 children by providing them with food, shelter, clothes, education and others. A special menu has been introduced for the food of the children and they are kept in a very special care.

On the other hand, when this scribe visited CP&WB situated in Baghbanpura police limits, living conditions of the children were found very pathetic; dresses of the children were also very poor while hostel rooms of girls and boys were stinky. Spokesman for the bureau, Wasim, was reluctant to take this scribe to the kitchen of the bureau for the reasons best known to him.

 

AMRAIZ KHAN