KARACHI -  Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Shamim Mumtaz has directed the newly-appointed director general of the Sindh Child Protection Authority (SCPA) to set up authority’s headquarters in Karachi and divisional offices in Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana.

The step is being taken to provide protection to children who need it, in line with international human rights treaties and conventions ratified by Pakistan.

The provincial minister for social welfare, who is also chairperson of the SCPA, expressed these views during an introductory meeting with newly-appointed director general of the authority Abdul Wahid Leghari at her office. Social Welfare Secretary Altaf Ahmed Bijarani, Social Welfare Director General Muhammad Raheem Lakho, Child Welfare Deputy Director Fozia Masoom and other officers were also present.

She said that all preparations should be completed in a month so that authority could be fully functional by mid of April. She ordered launch of the website of the authority so that it could create linkages with child protection units and child protection officers working in various districts throughout the province.

The provincial minister said that role of Sindh Assembly members was commendable who always made landmark legislation like the much-needed Sindh Child Protection Authority Act.

However, she said, the process of establishing the authority was delayed due to some procedural hurdles. She said that it was an important project meant to help the victims of physical and psychological violence, sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, worst forms of child labour and beggary. She said, “By the grace of Allah Almighty, we have notified the rules of business of Child Protection Authority and offices at divisional level will start functioning by mid of April. Its network will be expanded to district level in next financial year.”

The minister also directed the social welfare secretary to convene a meeting of the Sindh Child Protection Authority within a fortnight. The authority consists of two members of the Sindh Assembly; secretaries of social welfare, law, home and labour departments; representatives of non-government organisations working for child rights such as Plan Pakistan, Madadgar Helpline, Devcon and two experts from the legal fraternity.