PESHAWAR: The provincial government has appointed Reham Khan, the wife of PTI chief Imran, as ambassador for street children.
Adviser to Chief Minister Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, who announced Reham Khan as ambassador of provincial government for raising awareness about the rights of street children, accompanied her when she came to attend a function held in connection with International Day for Street Children in the guarded Chief Minister’s House here on Sunday.
Addressing the function, Ms Khan said that social acceptance of sexual exploitation of street children was a reality. A recent foreign documentary called it ‘hidden shame’ of Pakistan but it was not very hidden anymore, she added. She said that street children should be considered ‘state children’ as it was responsibility of the government to protect them.
Her statement sounded earnest as she mentioned how she did not allow her daughter to even go out of the house’s main gate yet those in responsible positions and having wealth could sleep peacefully in comfort of their homes as little children wandered in the streets.
However, it all made little impact since the event meant to discuss plight and rights of street children was organised in the Chief Minister’s House.
Ms Khan stressed the need for protecting street children in the country.
When media asked her about MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s offer to gift her a gold jewellery set and her husband a shalwar-qameez on their visit to Karachi last week as wedding gifts, she simply said that she did not need any jewellery because PTI supporters were their jewels.
Govt to set up academy for such children to impart them regular, technical education
She said that God had given her everything she needed. She, however, left a message for Altaf Bhai which sounded like a taunt rather than a request.
“I request Altaf Bhai if he really wants to gift something, he should donate it to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and for the welfare of street children,” Ms Khan said while talking to media.
Speakers belonging to other organisations that collaborated in holding the programme spoke on a roadmap for the street children as state children. The function was arranged jointly by Child Protection Commission of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, The Child Protection and Rehabilitation Trust, Azad Foundation and Muslim Hands UK. Around 20 street children also attended the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Torghani announced setting up an academy for street children in the province where they would be imparted technical education besides regular education.
She said that a survey would be conducted in three districts of the province including Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad to ascertain the number of street children.
However, she said that ascertaining the number was an easy job but implementation of the policy was something difficult.
The conference discussed ways to protect children against all forms of violence and to give them their basic rights.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar said on the occasion that final proposal for the academy was under process. He hoped that the academy would be made functional next year. “No one can guarantee us a peaceful future if we fail to end problems being faced by these children,” he said.
Mr Qaisar also said that children once enrolled needed to be provided with scholarships so that their families also got some financial assistance. It was responsibility of a welfare state to provide people with health and educational facilities besides jobs, he added.
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2015