=> KARACHI – At least 5,268 children were subjected t -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> KARACHI – At least 5,268 children were subjected t

KARACHI – At least 5,268 children were subjected to victimisation across the country during the last year while most cases were reported in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference at Maddadgaar Office on Tuesday, Advocate Zia Ahmed Awan, President Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRAL), provided the statistics of the affected children during the year 2007.

He disclosed that the issue of violence against children is getting worse day by day as 3,051 children were victimised in the Punjab alone in last year while Balochistan has the lowest number of such cases with 225.

He quoted the database report which collected the reported cases from newspapers. According to the report at least 5,268 children were victimised across Pakistan from January to December 2007, out whom 3,012 were male and 2,256 female. Lack of awareness, social discrimination, patriarchal structure of the society, lack of avenues for redress and many barriers in accessing justice are the basic reasons which prevent people to report child abuse cases, it said. Hence the reported number of cases just gives an idea about the actual magnitude of violence against children in Pakistan, the report added.

Zia Awan said that around 225 child abuse cases were reported from Balochistan, 549 from NWFP, 3,051 in Punjab and 1,443 from Sindh adding that such incidents were on the rise on yearly basis.

The reason behind this situation is strong tribal and parallel judicial system prevailing in various parts of the country, he added. Because of the prejudiced customs, victims and their family members do not have courage to come out and report such incidents, Awan said. He said that in many cases Jirgas come forward and help the perpetrators to suppress the issue.

He said that among major cities, Multan topped the list as 997 child abuse cases happened there while in Karachi the number of reported cases were 416. In other big cities, the number of violence cases against children was Gujranwalla 745, Lahore 679, Sialkoat 654, Rawalpindi 597, Faisalabad 507, Peshawar 467, Larkana 415, Hyderabad 345 and Sukker with 279 cases.

Awan continued that number of such cases was 4,386 in 2006 comparatively less than that in the year 2007. He said that in 2006, the number of child trafficking cases was 86, torture by the police 96 and that of suicide incidents was 180 whereas in 2007, child lifting increased up to 324, police torture 241 and suicides augmented to 520.
The statistics further reveals that under other forms of violence 726 children were brutally murdered, 387 female and 305 male kids sexually assaulted, 366 children fell victim to physical torture, 85 were punished under Karo-Kari, 1,084 kidnapped and 1,230 children went missing.
The report further revealed that number violence incidents against children during the last eight years include 5,119 murders, 2,676 cases of physical torture, 4,628 assaulted, 8,100 cases of missing, 301 of Karo-Kari, 625 cases of police torture, 2,727 suicides, 740 kidnapped and 7,382 children were kidnapped for ransom.

Zia further said that children were being abused on a large scale and this heinous trend was increasing due to the absence of preventive measures taken by the government. He said that negligence of law-enforcement agencies, families and communities, lack of interest at government level, illiteracy, poverty and other social evils were main reasons behind rampant violence against children.

He demanded that the Child Protection Bill pending should be passed; policy and strategy be developed to provide protection to children against abuse and exploitation; bilateral and multilateral agreements be done to control and prevent cross boarder child trafficking.
Source: The Nation
Date:1/23/2008