ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Human Rights on Thursday launched the Zainab Alert application on Pakistan Citizen’s Portal.
The alert unifies and strengthens efforts to track and trace missing children and child abuse cases in Pakistan, following the recent enactment of the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act in March 2020.
The Zainab Alert system will activate the state machinery at relevant regional and district levels for effective emergency response and recovery of missing children. Through integration with the Pakistan Citizen’s Portal, the alert mechanism will be instantly available to 2.9 million registered users.
The alert mechanism was launched at an event held at the Ministry of Human Rights. Zainab Ansari’s father, Amin Ansari attended the event as the guest of honour and launched the application.
Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who was present at the launch, commended the move and praised its integration with the Citizen’s Portal.
Deputy Secretary Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit Adil Saeed Safi explained the technical aspects of the application and system. Citizens who have no access to the internet could visit any government office or institution and request for the generation of an alert on their behalf.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari spoke about other steps the federal government was in the process of implementing to institute stronger protection for the rights of children.
She stressed widespread awareness campaigns to sensitise the general public about the rights of children and attitudes and behaviours that could help create a safe and enabling environment for them to grow up.
The application was developed by the Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit. The Zainab Alert utilises advanced technologies and packs in several key features such as AI face recognition, geo-tagging and mapping, and real time progress tracking and alerts in order to streamline and strengthen response and recovery alerts.
It will also establish a national reporting dashboard and a public web portal to allow both authorities and citizens to track and trace the progress of cases as well as the prevalence of incidents and reporting in regions/districts across Pakistan.
The system will be monitored by the Ministry of Human Rights. The director general of Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA) will supervise the mechanism and dashboard at the ministry.
The system institutes a robust mechanism that will alert the district police officers (DPOs) and the regional police officers (RPOs) through their respective dashboards as well as through SMS notifications. Police officials after initial validation of the alerts shall mobilise immediately.
Inspectors general of police (IGPs) will be responsible for following up in their provincial capacities as well as the chief ministers and provincial home secretaries.
Ultimately, the mechanism and dashboard will be integrated with the Ministry of Human Rights’ 1099 helpline and application for reporting human rights abuses and violations.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020