ISLAMABAD -  Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has urged the federal ministries and provincial governments to sincerely undertake the required legislative, administrative and social sector reforms for creating an enabling environment for children in the country.

"I urge the civil society, NGOs, philanthropists, international development partners, media and corporate sectors to come forward as partners and play an effective role for protection of child rights to make Pakistan a child-friendly country," the prime minister said in a message on the occasion of Universal Children's Day to be observed on Sunday.

The day is celebrated globally to sensitise the world on the crucially important aspect of everyone's life.

The prime minister said Pakistan joined the world community to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its provisions in letter and spirit. The UN convention provides the basic principles for the rights of children.

He said it was government's responsibility to ensure children's rights to survival, development, protection and participation as envisaged in the UNCRC.

"It is indeed our national and constitutional duty to protect the best interests of our children. Children are a vulnerable segment of any society and at the same time the most precious investment for ensuring a better future," the prime minister said.

He called for reaffirming the commitment for protection of child rights to make children useful and productive citizens.

He said the government has promulgated the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 with regard to Child Abuse, Child Pornography and enhancing the minimum age of criminal liability.

He said it was pleasing that Punjab and Sindh provinces had introduced amendments in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.  The prime minister mentioned his approval of a National Plan of Action for Human Rights which addressed the issues of child protection, discrimination, labour, education and other measures for their wellbeing.

He also expressed the hope for establishment of an autonomous and independent National Commission for Child Rights in the near future.

"We recognise that there are immense challenges in improving on-ground situation for children in the country, but our government is continuously undertaking reforms to cope with these challenges," he said.

The prime minister said the Ministry of Human Rights was also making efforts for protection and promotion of child rights in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders and practitioners in the country.

He appreciated the UN agencies and NGOs for advocating and highlighting the child rights and hoped that they would continue to pursue this important mission with the same zeal and vigour.