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KARACHI: 440 child prisoners entertained

December 08, 2006

KARACHI, Dec 7: More than 440 child prisoners in a local jail had fun for over three hours, enjoying various sports activities, singing performances etc at a function on Thursday morning.

The function was organized by noted social worker and artist Jimmy Engineer in connection with the International Human Rights Day, celebrated around the globe on December 10, at the Youthful Offenders Industrial School (YOIS), commonly known as the Juvenile jail.

Saleem Qureshi, Batool, Arbab, Amina, Komal, Sana, Nazish, Jullian, Uzair and others, led by their music teacher Ustad Riaz Hussain from the Ida Rieu School and College for the Deaf and Blind, presented various national as well as folk songs to entertain the audience.

The social worker on the occasion urged the authorities to implement the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance which, though had been promulgated over six years back, had not been implemented effectively and the child prisoners continued to suffer.

He said under that system cases involving children had to be tried quickly and granting of bails were made easy. He expressed concern over the fact that 95 per cent of the juvenile inmates were under-trial prisoners.

He said even after conviction if the Probation Ordinance 1960, which also remained under-utilised, was effectively used many of the prisoners could be released easily.

He suggested that rather than punishing them harshly the youngsters could be reformed so that they became good citizens and played their role in the progress of society.

Mr Engineer, who has been organising such programmes for handicapped children, street children, and juvenile inmates and other children belonging to disadvantaged sections of the society for over four years, said that he organized such programmes to highlight the issues being faced by the these children. Once highlighted there was a chance that these issues might be solved soon.

Earlier, prizes were given to various inmates for winning in different events held during the sports competition. The winners were: Shah Alam, Mohsin, Yaqoob, Waqas, Yunus, Imranuddin, Mohammad Yasin, Mohammad Junaid, Kashif, Hamid Raza, Mohammad Anas, and Mohammad Munir.

A17-year-old boy, Shah Alam, who was a madressah student and also worked in a hosiery factory in New Karachi before being arrested over a year back, won six prizes.

YOIS superintendent Qamar H. Shah and others also spoke.