ISLAMABAD: The federal government will be putting a complete ban on child domestic work and negotiations are underway with all stakeholders to address the issue of missing persons, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said on Monday.

Speaking at a seminar on Child Protection: Issues, Solutions and Opportunities, the minister announced a few other pro-child legislations including anti-corporal punishment, the Zainab Alert Bill, the Child Protection Bill and awareness campaigns for child sexual abuse and the existing child protection laws.

The event was organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) and the Child Rights Movement.

Dr Mazari said there is no space for enforced disappearances in the new government. She said her ministry is working on a bill for transgender rights and on curriculum revision with the education ministry and that the new curriculum will be taught in all public and private schools as well as madressahs.

Senator Mohammad Ali Saif said Pakistan is overloaded with legislation and that the main problem is the lack of implementation, poor governance and lack of finances.

Sparc Executive Director Sajjad Ali Cheema said 24 million children are out of school, that child labour still exists despite laws banning it and hoped the government will take positive initiatives for the protection of children.

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Secretary Dr Hafiz Ikramul Haq said the state is responsible for making child protection laws and implementing them effectively.

Riphah International University Islamabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Anis Ahmed said Islam is a religion of peace and liberates human beings, who are all born free.

“We need to provide enough resources to families so they can buy food and send their children to school. Families should be urged to take care of new mothers in order to improve the health of children,” he said.

Member of the Sparc board of directors Anees Jillani said Pakistan has one of the longest constitutions in the world and that it only mentions children twice, in Article 11 and 25-A.

Child labour is restricted in the formal labour sector while there are no restrictions on child labour in the informal sector, he said. He demanded the government ban child labour in all sectors and strictly implement labour laws.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2018