By Muhammad Atif Ismail
MULTAN, Mar 17 (APP):Five year old Bilal was weeping and questioning “Where is my Bairak (Jail’s Cell), Where am I and Where are you taking me,” When officials of Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) took him into their’s custody following request from his mother, who was facing imprisonment in murder case.
Bilal spent more than three years with her mother in Central Jail Multan. His whole world was jail only. It was almost his first experience to see routine life with some little exposure and understanding in city when CPWB officials took him to the CPWB Centre, wherein run-away and poor kids were nurtured under supervision of Home Department of Punjab Government.
Bilal completely lacked concept of socialization. He was constantly weeping and watching moving vehicles, tall buildings, crowded shops and huge gathering of people at scattered place, during his journey from jail to Child Protection Centre, said District Officer Fayyaz Butt while talking to APP.
He informed that Jail Administration and Bilal’s mother had contacted Department four months ago, and requested to take Bilal to CPWB and focus on his proper upbringing there as she wanted to make him a useful and productive citizen.
Now, Bilal has returned to normal life. He used to play with other kids. He shares his belongings with other students. Similarly, he has also improved his linguistic skills. He is very much confident now. “The Environment at Child Protection Bureau is very much attractive. Kids enjoy quality food, education, clothing, games, proper care and some other facilities”, stated DO CPWB Fayyaz Butt .
About Child Protection Bureau, Fayyaz Butt informed APP, the department was introduced under the Punjab Destitute & Neglected Children (PDNC) Act 2004.
“There are nine CPWB centres across the province including Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Rahim Yar Khan and Multan. The Centres were established with an aim to protect rights of kids, recovery of run-away kids, stop child abuse, discourage begging among kids, and delivery of many others rights,” Butt informed.
The official said, “Since its establishment in Multan in March 2007, Child Protection Bureau took 8270 run-away and beggar kids into custody. Out of whom, 8211 kids were re-united to their parents. In Bureau, the kids are given conducive environment. The officials continuously visit Bus Stands, Railway Stations, Shrines and some other places to take run away, beggars and lost kids. They used to bring them to Centre and trace their parents and then manage their reunion with complete counselling,”.
Child Protection Officer (CPO) Kubra Malik numerated different reasons behind issues of run-away kids.
“Poverty, parents’ separation, parents’ neglect, child abuse, emotional abuse, joint family system issues, single parent and some other reasons are main causes which affect kids”, Kubra observed.
Proper education, recreation, games and many other activities were performed in the Centre, she said and added those activities were bringing positive impact on personality of the kids. Annually, one mega festival was also organized in which the children were given opportunities to express their hidden talent and potential.
When questioned about counselling and awareness to parents of the runaway kids, another official and Child Psychologist Leesa Tabassum informed that different sessions were conducted with kids and their parents.
She suggested, “Parents should pay proper focus and care. In case of their separation, they should not neglect their kids. It is often observed that parents ignored their kids after separation. Such kids feel insecure and unwanted, then they preferred to run-away from their broken families.
Communication of parents with kids should be ideal and friendly.
The parents should take proper care in case they contracted second marriages”, she remarked.
She also lamented that the kids were also seen prey to professional beggars. They make them beggars and also indulge them in immoral activities especially at Bus Stands. Maximum focus should be given on kids’ socialization in their families only. It will improve their confidence and also help abolish aggression among kids, she suggested.
About steps to discourage begging, another official and media coordinator of Child Protection and Welfare Bureau Rao Naveed Mukhtar stated that there was three year imprisonment and 50,000 fine in case someone was found managing begging from kids. Child Protection and Welfare Bureau Multan got cases registered against professional beggars. Many beggars were jailed for this heinous crime, he added.
“Earning is not responsibility of kids but it is responsibility of parents”, Naveed stated.
Naveed further informed that CPB owned five deaf and dumb kids, they could not disclose their identity and they were residing in the Centre on permanent basis. However, the kids were being provided quality education and skills.
When asked, Naveed informed that Child Protection Bureau could accommodate kids till age of 18 years. “Often, Child Protection Bureau manages jobs for such residents, he maintained.
“Helpline of CPWB is 1121, if someone finds an abandoned child , he can make a call on this number,” he disseminated the message.