Child abduction: Punjab govt told to craft info sharing mechanism
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has recommended the creation of an inter-provincial information-sharing mechanism by authorities in Punjab to curb the rising incidence of child abduction in the province.
The recommendation was made by the human rights ministry, according to documents available with The Express Tribune.
The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights had taken up the matter last month after cases of child abduction jumped to an alarming proportion in Punjab.
According to the document, once a complaint is registered, the picture and credentials of an abducted child will be automatically circulated to all provinces to ensure that the child is not transported to another province undetected, the document said.
The federal ministry advised the Punjab government to install closed-circuit television cameras at vulnerable places like Data Darbar, Lari Adda, Railway Station and Minar-e-Pakistan.
Several measures including starting psychosocial counselling of children, running operations against begging rings and initiating awareness campaign on how to protect children were proposed. A joint facilitation centre by the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) was also recommended.
Teachers and parents were identified as persons who could turn the situation around.
Last month, the DIG (investigation) Lahore informed the parliamentary panel that since January this year, 767 children have been kidnapped from Punjab — mostly from Lahore, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar. But at the same time the police official also claimed that 544 of those missing children have since returned to their homes.
The official also insisted that most of the children who have gone ‘missing’ are runaways and have not been abducted. A host of reasons were given: poverty, family disputes, broken marriages, maltreatment at schools/madrassas and lack of education.
He claimed that 44.3% children alone left home due to their parents’ harsh behaviour. The Supreme Court has already taken notice of missing children and directed the inspector general Punjab to submit a detailed report in this regard.