Editorial : Plight of children - Sunday 1st May 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/01/plight-of-children.html

CHILDREN, together with women, are at the bottom rung of the ladder in Pakistan`s peculiar societal structure. The fact that both society and the state have failed to take care of this country`s children has been highlighted in a recent report released by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. The NGO`s report, The State of Pakistan`s Children 2010 , says that children are principally threatened by abuse and militancy; last year 92 children died while 118 were seriously injured due to militancy-related violence. Education — an already neglected sector — took a further hit with 126 public schools destroyed by militants in 2010. Minors were also susceptible to violence at home and in the criminal justice system. The torture of children remains an issue. Apart from man-made disasters, last summer`s floods had a particularly devastating effect on children, with millions of under-fives in need of food, the report observes.
That the political will to improve children`s lot is missing is clear from the fact that the federal and provincial governments were quite passive when it came to making and enforcing laws to protect children. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the notable exception as its Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 has been viewed as a step in the right direction. The centre as well as the provinces would do well to emulate Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in this regard. The current situation can change if the state enacts progressive legislation and has the will to enforce it, while society must root out the evil customs and attitudes that make the lives of this country`s children miserable. Giving the children of Pakistan hope for a better tomorrow by creating a more caring and compassionate society is incumbent on all of us. The next generation will not forgive their elders if the latter fail in this crucial area.

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