‘NGO’ involved in selling children busted, 12 rescued

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A rescue team from the Child Protection Bureau (CPB) freed 12 children of six to 15 years of age from the illegal custody of an NGO located near Liaqat Chowk in Sabzazar on Thursday.The free children were identified as Muhammad Ramzan, a resident of Vehari, Imtiaz Hussain, a resident of Lahore, Fayyaz, a resident of Okara, Muhammad Akram, a resident of Vehari, Kashif, a resident of Peshawar, Javed Akbar, a resident of Lucky Marwat, Wajid Shah Muhammad, a resident of Mansehra, Zeeshan, a resident of Multan, Abdul Hameed, a resident of Lucky Marwat, Riaz, a resident of Peshawar and Amjad Nisar, a resident of Bahawalpur.CPB Assistant Director Ulfat Abbas, who led the rescue operation, said that CPB officials deployed at and around Data Darbar, Lorry Adda and Railway Station observed suspicious activities of an NGO, Idara-e-Khidmate-e-Insaniat. He said that CPB officials observed that the NGO’s workers lifted children from various areas and brought them to their office at Liaqat Chowk.He said that on Wednesday, his team raided the NGO’s office that was locked from outside, but they could hear children’s voices. He said they called Sabzazar Police, who broke into the office and found 12 children there. He said that the policemen have also arrested the NGO’s administrator, Chaudhary Muhammad Basheer, and a worker, Muhammad Akmal.He claimed that all the children were illegally detained and most of them were runaways. He claimed that the NGO used to charge money from the children’s families for handing over their children. He said that if parents failed to provide money, the NGO sold children to unidentified men.He said that they have filed a complaint with Sabzazar Police for registration of a case under Law of Destitute and Neglected Children Act. He said that no one except the Child Protection Bureau could keep the children.The rescued children said that the NGO officials beat them and kept them in a small room.Muhammad Akram, one of the rescued children, told that he was returning home from work when two men bundled him into a van near Minar-e-Pakistan. He said that the men brought him to the NGO’s office and detained him along with a few other children.Amjad, another child, said that he came to the city after fleeing from his house and was staying at the shrine of Hazrat Ali Hajvery. He narrated a story similar to that of Akram. He said the NGO officials did not provide them with necessary food and tortured them.Sabzazar Police Station SHO Khalid Farooqi was not available for comment but the police station’s duty officer said that they have not registered a case yet.