PESHAWAR - Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Ahmad Seth yesterday inaugurated the first-ever Child Protection Court in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Judicial Complex Peshawar.

The Child Protection Court has been established under Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010 and Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018, which will handle issues related to child protection and welfare cases particularly legal custody of destitute and neglected children, reunification of destitute and neglected children with their families, trial of cases registered under the Child Protection and Welfare Act, welfare of children, trial of cases involving where children are victim, witness and offender and protection of movable and immovable properties of orphans, neglected and children at risk.

Registrar Peshawar High Court Khawaja Wajihuddin, addressing the inaugural ceremony, said primary role of this court was to ensure protection of children from maltreatment, violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.

He said protecting vulnerable children from mental and physical abuse and mistreatment was collective responsibility of every segment of the society and stressed the need for proactive child protection policy to provide safe environment.

He said that in the first phase Additional District and Sessions Judge Wadeeya Mushtaq Malik had been appointed as presiding officer of the Child Protection Court at Peshawar, adding that PHC had successfully arranged training session at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy for the judicial officers and representatives of all stakeholders involved in the child protection and welfare.

In the second phase, Child Protection Court will be extended to divisional headquarters followed by setting up these courts at every district across the province.

As many as 62 cases have been filed in child protection court so far.

He said that provincial government had already been approached about the financial implication and provision of basic facilities in these courts. Vision envisaged by the legislator while framing the KP Child Protection and Welfare Act as well as Juvenile Justice System Act was to protect the rights of children which will be implemented by the child court, hence the credit for that goes to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

“Peshawar High Court will appreciate if now practical steps are taken in that direction by extending the establishment of Child Protection Court in all the districts of the province,” he said. 

Wajih highlighted importance of sensitising society about rights and providing congenial atmosphere to children in the light of Islamic teachings and the Constitution of Pakistan.

He said proceedings and atmosphere of child courts will be totally different as arrangements had been made in two separate rooms equipped with toys and books and colorful paintings on walls to acclimatise them with court environment. Counselling will also be given to those children appearing in courts.