Collective approach imperative for tackling child abuse: Marriyum

155

ISLAMABAD, March 13 (APP):Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Tuesday called for collective efforts to tackle the problem of child abuse in the society.
Speaking as chief guest at a workshop on “Child Protection Case Management and Referral System in Pakistan” organized
by UNICEF, she said that it was imperative to adopt a collective approach by the media, civil society and concerned stakeholders for tackling the problem and changing the social attitudes.
She said that media has the obligation to report and unveil incidents like Kasur, but it also has to fulfill its corporate social responsibility for creating awareness for prevention of such incidents.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, who is Chairperson of National Assembly’s Special Committee on Child Abuse, was all praise for Baluchistan and Gilgit Baltistan assemblies for enacting flagship, holistic and comprehensive legislation for child protection in
their respective provinces. Such legislation not only showed that the government was serious and committed to overcome this problem but it also inspired confidence among the people, she added.
In Pakistan, she said in most cases good laws exist but problem lies in their effective implementation. The minister said that Zainab and Asma cases were highlighted by the media but countless such cases remained unreported.
She said that Zainab and Asma cases became eye-opener for the society and all the assemblies had started working on
child protection laws.
She said that a special committee on child protection had been constituted by the Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq which would present its recommendations within 30 days after thorough consultations with all the stakeholders. The
committee was examining the laws, legal frameworks and regulations for effecting improvement in them, she said.
The minister said that prosecution area was the most important part as in many cases the parents had to run from pillar to
post for getting the case registered.
She said that Zainab and Asma were being treated as case studies and the Punjab government was assisting the committee
to check what problems were faced by the parents of the victims particularly in registration of cases.
She said that the committee would also include the input of the civil society and other stakeholders in its recommendations.
Marriyum said that there was also a need to include the subject of child protection in the curricula to create timely
awareness among the children and parents as well.
She said that the Punjab government had launched an information technology based system and a forensic lab had been established which could also be helpful to other provinces.
The minister thanked international partners for their support and contribution in fighting the scourge of child abuse and
provision of data regarding best practices at the world level. She also lauded UNICEF for its contribution in health and education sector, provision of data and its help in capacity building.
She also appreciated the role and contribution of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and National Commission on the
Status of Women for child protection.
Marriyum said that Article 35 of the Constitution called for protection of mother and child and the government was striving to take concrete steps in that regard.
She said that under the 18th Amendment, the provinces had become more empowered and they were also doing legislation
for the resolution of their local problems and issues.
She said that the federal government was ready to provide all possible support and facilitate them to fulfill their responsibilities in this connection.
She said that Sustainable Development Goals task force was working for child protection issues at both the federal and provincial levels. It was providing data and equipment to the legislators in their respective assemblies, she added.
The minister said that SDG task force was the brain-child of Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Pakistan
had become the first and only country to have a full fledged secretariat of SDGs.