Shireen Mazari inaugurates Aitezaz Hasan Child Protection Institute

ISLAMABAD: In the run-up to the World Day Against Child Labour, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari on Thursday inaugurated the opening of the Aitezaz Hasan Child Protection Institute in Islamabad. Established under the Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Act 2018, the Institute was drafted by the Ministry of Human Rights to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, neglect, maltreatment, exploitation and abuse. The Institute will provide protection services to vulnerable and at-risk children.

On this occasion, Dr. Mazari reiterated the government’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of children and eliminating child labour in all of its forms, stressing its physical and psychological dangers. “Ensuring the rights of children is a key priority of the present government and the new Child Protection Institute is a significant milestone in this concentrated effort to prevent the abuse, injury and exploitation of children in Pakistan, ” she said. Dr Mazari said that the Institute would help provide rescue, shelter, counselling, family tracing and rehabilitation services to street children, child labourers or children who were trafficked, lost and neglected.

She also emphasized the recent, concrete steps taken by the Ministry of Human Rights to strengthen legislation and protect children’s constitutionally guaranteed rights. The case of eight-year-old Zohra Shah, who was ruthlessly killed by her employer, prompted the Ministry of Human Rights to propose a significant amendment to classify child domestic labour as a “hazardous occupation” under Schedule 1 of the Employment of Children Act 1991. The Ministry of Human Rights also runs a national helpline 1099 to register complaints of human rights violations across Pakistan and ensure prompt redressal, she expressed.

The Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Inamullah Khan, stated that it was intolerable that children should be working in exploitative or dangerous conditions, and the Ministry of Human Rights is playing a proactive role in protecting children from the detrimental mental and physical impacts of child labour, in line with Pakistan’s constitutional and international obligations. He noted that the new Child Protection Institute represented a critical step in Pakistan’s sustained efforts to safeguard children’s rights and safety.