LAHORE - Country’s top court yesterday took notice of the large-scale abductions of children in Punjab, as police report identifies domestic violence and poverty as major factors behind runaway cases.

Out of 681 missing children, police officials say at least 640 kids were recovered since January. Only, there are 40 cases under investigation while 41 children have not been recovered so far, according to the officials.

Lahore Registry Branch of the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the provincial police officer to submit details of all such incidents. According to a press release issued yesterday, acting Chief Justice Saqib Nisar was pleased to observe that in the recent past it has been widely publicised in media particularly the print (media) that more than 600 children have been abducted from the province, approximately 300 from Lahore alone.

“It has been highlighted that such abductions are orchestrated with the nefarious object of extracting vital body organs of the abductees; while another attribution is for the sexual abuse or beggary. That in any case such large scale abductions, if so, of children in a short span of time is a matter of immense concern and alarm,” the press release reads, citing the remarks of acting CJP.

Justice Saqib Nisar further observed that it is violation of the fundamental rights especially of life, liberty, safety, and free movement and undoubtedly is of great public importance and thus the matter calls for cognizance within the purview of Article 184(3) of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.

The chief justice has, therefore, ordered to issue notice to the Punjab IGP to depute some high-ranking police officer to provide details of such incidents and direct the Advocate General that the mater be placed before the court at the Lahore Registry on July 28.

Saba Sadiq, Chairperson Child Protection Bureau, yesterday told reporters that a total of 681 cases of missing children were registered from Jan 1 to July 25 in which, at least 640 children were recovered and safely handed over to their parents. As many as 41 children are still missing, she added.

A latest police analysis report reveals 63 percent cases registered under the head of kidnapping of minors under section (363 of the PPC) had to be cancelled after the parents’ claims were found incorrect; factually the kids were found missing, not kidnapped.

It is also observed that many of children - aging 8 to 17 - left home at their own accord due to domestic, economic, and other family issues. The data examination further reveals most of the accused involved in these cases were either relatives or known to the complainant.

Safely concluding the ‘social issue pertaining to street children’, police have termed family disputes as the cause of kidnapping as no ransom call was received in any of these cases.

According to a senior police officer, at least 208 cases of missing children were reported in Lahore during this year out of which 163 were recovered. “There are 40 cases under investigation where 41 kids have not been recovered so far,” SP Umar Saeed told The Nation.

Other investigators said each case was thoroughly examined and it was found that most of the missing/kidnapped children left home due to parents’ harsh behaviour, family disputes. However, among these missing children are those who ran away from madrassas (religious schools), and a few mentally retarded ones.

As per police, the detail of the cases of missing/kidnapped children from 1st January 2015 to date is as under: each case concerning kidnapped/missing minors has been thoroughly examined. It was found that among the recovered children, 41.3 percent left home due to parents’ harsh behaviour; 21.9 percent were lost and found; and 6.1pc of them were abducted by their relatives.