SHC seeks data of destitute children from social welfare secretary

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The secretary of the social welfare department has been directed to submit a complete list of destitute children who either have been reunited with their parents or housed by Darul-Atfal.

The SHC’s division bench warned the secretary that in case of his failure to obey the court order until the next hearing, he would have to appear in court to explain non-compliance of court order.

The bench was seized with the hearing of a petition seeking court directives to Sindh police for considering the missing children cases a cognizable offence and registering FIRs in this regard.

The petitioner, a non-government organisation, Roshni Research and Development Welfare, stated that cases of missing children were not properly investigated as a result, many children lost their lives.

Naveed Ahmed representing Roshni Research and Development Welfare, said that according to the organisation’s data, about 5,000 to 6,000 children go missing every year but due to reluctance of police, the whereabouts of many children cannot be traced and they are left at the mercy of kidnappers. He said police registered complaints about missing children in daily dairies but they did not register FIRs.

He said the police did not treat the missing children’s matter as a cognizable offence. Therefore, hundreds of children were still missing but the police did not take any step to investigate such cases. He said that if a child was not found within 48 hours, then the police should be bound to register a kidnapping case and investigate.