LAHORE - Inspector General Police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukherha says the abductions of children in Punjab is not as much a big issue as it is being portrayed by the media, believing ‘bad parenting’ as the reason why most of the children ran away from their homes.

Briefing the members of Supreme Court Bar Association yesterday, the IGP claimed that the police recovered many runaway children from railways station, shrines and bus stands in the big cities, while many of them were still in different child protection centres. “Parents will be taken to these centres for identification of their children,” he added.

The IGP visited the bar office on request of the SCBA regarding briefing on the rising tide of child abductions in various cities of Punjab.

The IGP, however, admitted that only 2 percent of the total children in Punjab were kidnapped but police had also overcome the situation. On the other hand, SCBA president Barrister Syed Ali Zafar said that he was convinced by the IGP that the situation was not out of control.

“It is not as we were thinking; we thought perhaps the children are being kidnapped by some terror organisations,” the SCBA president said. However, he added, they would verify the facts shared by the IGP and would release a complete report on Monday.

Earlier this week, the police informed the Supreme Court that 6793 children were kidnapped from various cities during the last six years out of which 6654 children were recovered but 139 children are still missing.

The police department submitted a detailed report to a two-judge bench by Justice Main Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman that was holding proceedings on a suo motu notice taken against increasing number of children’ kidnapping from Punjab at Supreme Court Lahore registry.

On average, about 1464 cases are registered across the province each year, and the most of these children have either returned home or have been found by institutions such as Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, Edhi, or police, according to the police report.

Children who get kidnapped, leave home, run away, or go missing are reported to police invariably as ‘abducted’, and police register a criminal case. But most of these children either return home on their own or police or some welfare institutions find them and re-unite them with their parents.

The police department, in its report, submitted that most of the missing/kidnapped children left home due to parents’ harsh behaviour and other family disputes. It is also observed that many of children - aging 8 to 17 - left home at their own accord due to domestic, economic issues.

The police report says that 44.1 percent children left home due to parents’ harsh behaviour; 21.6 pc were lost and found; 7.6 pc fled due to family disputes; 6.1 pc were abducted by one of the parents; 5.1 pc were recovered during attempt of the offense at the spot; 4.6 pc ran away due to maltreatment at madaris (religious schools); 4.1 pc were abducted by their relatives; 2.9 pc miscellaneous factors; 2.3 pc were abducted for sexual abuse; and 1.6 pc were abnormal.