ISLAMABAD - Although awarding Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) to juveniles is in contravention of the mandatory provision of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000, yet law is being violated and children continue to suffer, TheNation has learnt. Pakistan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 and introduced some domestic measures, such as the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO), which came into force in 2000, as part of efforts to fulfill the obligation to protect the rights of children, who come in contact with the law. Under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO), 2000 (Ord. No. XXII of 2000), no child shall be ordered to labour and given any corporal punishment during the time spent in custody or any such other institution. In 2008, Federal Shariat Court also prohibited Rigorous Imprisonment of children, while hearing an appeal of two juveniles Muhammad Noman (15) and Muhammad Lateef (15) against a decision of trial court. Federal Shariat Court took serious notice of it in the following words, The conviction and sentences of the appellants tantamount to throwing them away in a prison for adults with RI in violation of section 12 of Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000, which states that no child should be given corporal punishment at any time while in custody. They must have suffered great deal of hardship and torture till such time bail was granted to them by this Court or the trial Court as the case may be. It may also be stated here that a child could only be detained in Borstal Jail under rule 6 of [ICT] Juvenile Justice Rules, 2001. However, statistics of the Inspectorates of Prisons available with TheNation as of April 30, 2009 revealed that around 1662 children are currently in detention in Pakistan and 123 of them are convicted, while 1539 are Under-trial. Out of 123 convicted juveniles, over 110 have been handed varying degree of sentence with Rigorous Imprisonment in three provinces (Punjab, Sindh and NWFP), report stated. Further adding that it is not certain about type of punishment handed down to 19 convicted juveniles in Balochistan. According to legal experts and researchers working on child rights the JJSO represents a serious attempt to bring the laws in Pakistan regarding juvenile justice into line with the international standards, but continued problems in implementation indicate that there is either a lack of awareness or there are practical issues that need to be resolved. While commenting on the issue, Rizwan Abbasi, a lawyer, said that juveniles were being sentenced with rigorous imprisonment without taking into account the guarantees given under the Ordinance. However, he continued other sections of JJSO is also being violated. Law clearly stated that children should never be kept in the same cells as adults, it urge for establishing separate courts and Borstal institution for them, It prohibited handcuff for juveniles, but this happens regularly, he added. Secretary General Islamabad Bar Association, Raysat Ali Azad opined that actually, the law of JJSO exists, but it could not be implemented in its true spirit. While avoiding comments on Rigorous Imprisonment, he said, I think children in prison must be free from the threat of torture or degrading treatment, they must not be subject to corporal punishment. Rafeeq Khan, working on child rights for the last many years, was of the view that formulation of a special tribunal for an urgent review of the cases of all convicted juvenile prisoners since 2000 for ascertaining the actual situation is a need of time.