LAHORE -  Representatives of the government, parliament and civil society agreed on Thursday to develop a comprehensive Child Protection Policy followed by a Plan of Action to address violence against children.

This multi-stakeholder dialogue was held during a consultative workshop on violence against children. The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Movement (Punjab), Search For Justice and Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, Government of Punjab.

Atif Adnan Khan, legal expert working with the Search For Justice and Sahil, emphasised strengthening the criminal justice system to ensure child victims of violence get justice. He said that courts should expeditiously decide Child Sexual Abuse cases, as delay was usually fatal for the victim family. A proper place for preparation/understanding of examination and cross examination should be provided to prosecutors and prosecution department must appoint expert prosecutors for trials of Child Sexual Abuse cases.

He appreciated establishment of Child Safety Cell in Sheikhupura by the district police officer and asked for replication of this idea throughout the province. He suggested ensuring sustainability of the safety cell. He said the inspector general of Punjab Police must issue a standing order that Child Safety Cells must be set up in every district.

Punjab Police AIG Gender Crimes Imran Kishwar assured his full support to an efficient coordination mechanism among different government departments to deal with violence against children.

Rashida Qureshi, coordinator at the Child Rights Movement, Punjab, highlighted the need to develop a strong liaison and coordination between government departments and agencies to deal with violence, especially child sexual abuse.

Director General of the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau Kiran Khursheed said: “Children are a vulnerable segment of the society so an efficient child protection system should be in place to handle unpleasant incidents of violence against children.”

Punjab University College of Earth and Environmental Sciences has organized a seminar and walk in conncection with World Tourism Day.  Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasar was the chief guest in the seminar that was followed by walk. College of Earth and Environmental Sciences Principal Prof Dr Sajid Rashid Ahmad and guest speaker from Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA) addressed the participants. The speakers stressed the need for promoting tourism. A large number of students participated in the event. At the end Prof Dr Sajid Rashid Ahmad thanked the participants of the seminar and walk.