islamabad - In a bid to protect children’s fundamental rights in the country, National Children Committee (NCC) working under the umbrella of Federal Ombudsman of Pakistan has appointed exclusive children commissioners in all the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory.

The milestone decision was taken here at a meeting of NCC, chaired by former Law Minister SM Zafar and attended by Federal Ombudsman M Salman Faruqui and others notables.

The meeting took the decision to appoint ten children commissioners including SM Zafar, former Minister Shaheen Attique-ur-Rehman, Speaker Baluchistan Assembly Raheela Hameed Durrani, former Provincial Minister Shama Parveen Magsi, former Chairperson HEC Shehnaz Wazir Ali, FATA Grievance Commissioner Begum Jan, Advocate Supreme Court Zia Ahmed Awan, Professor Dr Huma Baqai, Dr Farzana Bari and Samar Minallah.

Addressing the meeting, chairman of the committee SM Zafar expressed pleasure over the appointment of children commissioners and hoped that it will bring a positive change in the society. He maintained that children should be given right to education, health facilities, good environment and other basic rights at any cost as it is a prerequisite in Pakistan’s Constitution.

Federal Ombudsman M Salman Faruqui in his address said that none can deny the significance of the role of children in any society and the appointment of children commissioners will be a landmark step by the National Children Committee (NCC).

He expressed the confidence that with the provision of fundamental rights to the children of Pakistan, the day is not far when these children will be playing a more proactive role in the development of the country.

Faruqui was of the view that children themselves could not lodge complaints, thus their parents or guardians could file complaints before these commissioners.

The meeting took the decision of appointing of these child commissioners in order to acknowledge the state of children of Pakistan who are 50 per cent of our total population. “They are the silent sufferers having no idea about their fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan,” the meeting noted.

It was also noted that many children were either confined in jails or they were compelled to become professional beggars or forced to involve in child labour. The committee felt that it was imperative to protect their fundamental rights and adopt measures to provide them enabling environment for their growth as useful citizens of the country.

The committee observed that the children are suffering hardships despite presence of strict laws protecting their rights against such exploitation.

The committee felt that appointment of children commissioners, in cooperation and coordination with the civil societies of the country and concerned NGOs will examine all core issues concerning with all the children and remedial measures for bringing improvement in the lives of neglected children in line with their fundamental rights.

The children commissioners will be empowered to take suo moto notice on the state of children in respect of any defaulting agencies, besides entertaining complaints filed by the children or their representatives against agencies.

It was also decided that for facilitating to file complaints against excesses by any agency or organisation a dedicated helpline will soon be installed.

Earlier, Senior Advisor Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat and National Commissioner for Children Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi briefed the meeting regarding the state of the children in the country.