NCRC summons police, ministry officials over alleged custodial torture of two boys – 20 Nov 2022

ISLAMABAD: The National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) has taken notice of the alleged custodial torture on two minor boys at the hands of the station house officer (SHO) of G-9 police station.

A complaint in this regard was filed by former Senator Farhatullah Babar and Advocate Imaan Hazir Mazari, a human rights activist, with the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights and referred to the commission.

The commission issued notices to the inspector general of police (IGP), the chief commissioner Islamabad, SHO Karachi Company Irshad Cheema, members of the Juvenile Justice Committee, Islamabad Bar Council`s committee on human rights and the Ministry of Interior to appear before the commission for a hearing on November 22.

The commission has decided to investigate the matter and promote juvenile justice and advance the rights of child.

According to documents available with Dawn, on the night of October 7, Wajahat bin Saif, 16, son of Chaudhry Saifuddin, a resident of G-7/1, and Mohammad Fahad Aftab, 17, son of Mohammad Aftab went out of their homes with the knowledge of their families.

Their motorcycle ran out of fuel in the limits of the Karachi Company police station after which they started dragging the bike on foot. The police arrested them and took the boys to the police station and started violence against them.

The boys` parents were left traumatised as nobody bothered to inform them about the arrest of their children.

Co-author of the complaint, ImaanHazir Mazari was present at the G-9 police station along with a few journalists for an unrelated matter when she heard load screams of boys from a room and went there. She discovered, along with other witnesses, that SHO Cheema was brutally beating the two boys, including stepping on their f aces, as they were made to lie on the floor.

The complainant asked the SHO that under what law he was beating young the boys but could not get answer. The journalists had recorded the conversation. The SHO attempted to cover his action by putting the boys` names in three dormant FIRs.

During hearing at the NCRC, lack of institutional accountability will also be discussed.

Day for prevention of child abuse In Pakistan,children are at the risk of various forms and types of abuse, including child labour, corporal punishment, child sexual abuse, harmful traditions such as child marriages.

While child marriage affects both boys and girls, girls are significantly more likely to be af fected.

The demographic health survey 2017-18 found that 29pc of women were married before the age of 18 compared to 5pc of men.

In Pakistan, more than 12.5 million children or nearly 16pc of the child population are involve d in child labour with 13pc to 14pc of the children being five to 15 years of age.

Although the number of child marriages in Pakistan has decreased significantly over the last three decades, this practice still remains a major problem.

The chairperson of the NCRC, Afshan Tehseen, in her statement on the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse said that child abuse wasa grave violation of children`s rights and one of the greatest threats to children`s life, survival, development and participation rights. She said ensuring children`s rights was particularly important because Pakistan had a unique window of opportunity where the youth could truly determine Pakistan`s future. But the rising number of child abuse cases is a matter of serious concern.

The time to act was now by strengthening child rights protection mechanisms and legislation as well as through massive public awareness campaigns.

The commission has established a complaint mechanism that has effectively addressed the problem of child abuse.

In addition, Ms Tehseen said the NCRC had analysed various child rights violations in Pakistan and issued policy briefs on street children, child marriages, forced conversion, child domestic labour, juvenile justice system to identify gaps and recommend remedial measures to key stakeholders to address problems of child abuse.

The government has taken a number of initiatives to protect and promote the rights of children, but given the scale of the problems these are not enough and urgent acdon should be taken.

The enactment of laws and implementation mechanisms vary from province to province, but overall enforcement remains a challenge.

Thereis aneedtoestablishseparate ministry/departments for children at the federal and provincial levels.

In addition, advisers for children should be appointed in the federal and provincial cabinets who can advocate for the concerns of almost half of the children in the country.

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