2010: a tough year for children in Pakistan

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The year 2010 was a tough year for the children of Pakistan owing to abysmal state of health and education, lack of legislative initiatives, no implementation of existing laws, terrorism and flood. It was stated in an annual report tilted ‘The State of Pakistan’s Children 2010’ released by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) on Thursday.
According to the report, 1,216 cases of child sexual abuse were documented in the country in first six months of the last year. Out of those cases, 125 boys and girls were sexually abused after abduction while 55 were murdered after sexual assault. The report stated that at least 29 ‘vani’ cases and 46 cases of forced marriages were also monitored during the last year.
The report added that according to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 1.2 million children are on the streets in Pakistan. In Karachi, the study reveled that out of over 32,000 adolescents found on the street, 3,409 including 1,245 females were involved in commercial sex practices. In Lahore, 26.9 percent adolescent whereas in Faisalabad 11.8 percent were involved in the same practices.
In an overview of the state of Pakistan’s children, SPARC Research Officer Amina Sarwar highlighted the main developments that occurred last year. She said the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) took a positive step towards addressing violence against children by propagating the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 in September.
“Moreover passing of the 18th Amendment seems to be promising for the education system of Pakistan as Article 25 guarantees free and compulsory education for children aged 5-16 years,” she said. She added that 92 children died while 118 children were seriously injured due to militancy in 2010. SPARC Executive Director Arshad Mahmood said that no concrete steps had been taken for the implementation of the Concluding Observations and Recommendations (CO&Rs) made by the UN Committee on the rights of the children in consideration of the last periodic report submitted to the committee by Pakistan.
Royal Norwegian Embassy Mission Deputy Head Terje Barstad said that Pakistan had a long way to go as for the implementation of the recommendations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. “At least 40 percent of the population is of children under the age of 15 years and the health care in the country also needs to be prioritised,” he added.