Gilgit-Baltistan:Child Protection in Pakistan

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The two-day consultation on ‘Adapting System Approach to Child Protection in Pakistan’ concluded with a consensus among provinces to share modules and standard operating procedures (SOP) in order to get benefit from positive experiences of one another.

Organised by the Child Rights Legal Centre (CRLC) in collaboration with Save the Children, the consultation revealed an important fact that the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) apparently had a lead in child protection mechanism with its Child Welfare Department actively involving stakeholders in various projects.

However the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government was also working on many projects for child protection. Representatives of the KPK government asked the government of AJK to share their modules and experiences so that they could also follow in the footsteps of the AJK government.

One of the lamenting facts that came into limelight is that the Punjab government, which has taken the initiative of child protection a decade ago, is now lagging behind all provinces.

Having a centralised system to provide child protection services was another suggestion that managed to build consensus. The participants of the consultation believed that instead of working in small segments that costs resources, it is better to have a centralized system, which would also avoid duplication and increase efficiency.

Addressing on the occasion, KPK Child Protection Unit (CPU) Head Ijaz Khan said that they have managed to introduce the KPK Child Protection Act 2010 in which they have tried to cover the children at risk. “We have introduced CPU in provincial capital (Peshawar) in which these centres have been established in eight districts,” he said.

Sharing the challenges in the implementation of the Act, he said that there are many issues in the law related to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). “I think some of the issues should be dealt with separately rather they require a separate legislation,” he said.

Gilgit-Baltistan Assistant Chief (P&D) Ahsan Ghani, addressing on the occasion, said that they were establishing the Child Protection Units in Gilgit-Baltistan. “GB is a new set-up where we have many economic, social and cultural problems. However we are trying to overcome problems through networking and coordination,” he said.- News

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