KARACHI: As many as 300 children will be registered with the Sindh government and will be provided education and other facilities, said Rizwan Jaffer, the founder of Youth Parliament at the Youth Summit held at FTC auditorium on Tuesday.
The summit was organised to celebrate the cause of street children in connection with International Children’s Day and the upcoming World Refugee Day, said Jaffer. Around 100 street children from various charity schools, social activists from several local non-governmental organisations, parents, teachers, and caregivers attended the summit.
Addressing the audience, South investigation SSP Faizullah Karejo said that the cases pertaining to street children are under-reported. “People don’t think of the issues of street children as a human rights violation,” he said. “Naturally, they don’t report it when they see a child on a street being abused by someone.”
He went on to ask the children if they wanted to join the police force. Many male children in the audience raised their hands. Karejo then went on to request the members of the audience to report every kind of child abuse to the police. “The police are here to serve all the members of society. We are not to be scared of. There might be some officials whose performance could be questioned but a majority of the police force is dedicated to protecting all the citizens, regardless of their age and gender.”
He emphasised on informing the police first and foremost in case of a problem. “If you won’t inform us then we won’t find out about your problem,” he said. “The Karachi police can be contacted even through our website and an FIR can be registered online by visiting www.karachipolice.gov.pk. We have so far registered 500 FIRs online and the web is the easiest way to report problems of street children.”
Addressing the guest speakers, he said, “Studies have shown that street children are used by terrorists to conduct suicide bombings and other violent crimes, making it all the more important to keep these unattended children from falling into the hands of miscreants.”
During a discussion with Jaffer, another speaker, Initiator Human Development Foundation president Rana Asif Habib, shared some major facts regarding the street children’s situation. “Karachi has more than half a million street children working on over 973 traffic intersections of the city,” he said. “Children even beg on the premises of the City Court. Sixty-seven per cent of the children leave their homes because of the corporal punishment meted out to them by their families.”
The children broke the monotony of the speeches by singing and presenting tableaus on national and regional songs. Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, alKhidmat Foundation president Abdus Shakoor, alKhidmat general secretary Abdul Aziz and senator Abdul Haseeb Khan were also among the guest speakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.