The provincial social welfare department on Monday claimed that not a single case of torture on domestic child workers across Sindh was reported in the five years ending 2014, saying the records of the provincial social welfare department’s child protection units were as clean as a whistle.
“No case has been reported in the child protection unit in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014,” said Social Welfare Minister Shamim Mumtaz in response to a question during Sindh Assembly’s Question Hour.
The house discussed the increasing incidence of torture on the poor children who were working in rich households to support their families. They said the menace was on the rise despite existence of certain laws.
The minister said her department was “fully aware” of its duties and keeping an eye on such incidents if they got reported to it.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Naheed Begum asked about the year when the social welfare department started the Benazir Women Support Programme, its aims and objectives and the year in which the same was closed with reasons of its closure.
The minister, however, said the question did not pertain to her department as the programme was never started under it.
Nusrat Saher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional asked about the number of institutions for disabled persons working in the province as well as the budget earmarked for the same between 2009 and 2013.
The minister said 18 rehabilitation centres for disabled persons — 13 for children and five for adults — were working in Sindh. Five of the centres were in Karachi and the remaining were in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, Khairpur, Dadu, Badin, Thatta, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Kashmore districts.
She said budget for each centre was Rs6 million.
Ms Abbasi questioned the minister about the escape of three women from a Darul Aman facility in Larkana in July 2014, the incident’s details and its reasons.
She confirmed the incident and said that on July 1, 2014 three inmates — Nusrat Bulaidi, Nooran Chandio and Muskan Shaikh — escaped by cutting the iron grill of a window fixed in the main hall of the institution.
She said an FIR was duly lodged the same day with Waleed police station in Larkana wherein two watchmen, Ata Mohammad and Allah Bux, were nominated. However, they were exonerated by a court on Aug 10, 2016, while the police failed to recover any inmates.
Lawmaker Dilawar Qureshi of the MQM asked about the procedure or criteria for admission of women in a Darul Aman facility. The minister said those destitute women whose cases were being tried in the court of law and referred to the social welfare department for shelter in Darul Aman or those women who had no shelter due to family disputes or some other reasons were provided shelter in the facility.
She said the Darul Aman shelters provided lodging and boarding. Besides, various skill trainings were also offered there.
She said the facility made efforts to get the inmates reconciled with their families, provided them religious education, adult literacy or basic education to illiterate women, medical facilities and transportation to attend court.
Dr Sohrab Sarki of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party asked about the number of social welfare centres in Jacobabad and the number of employees there.
The minister said six centres existed in Jacobabad district wherein 66 officials were working. The centres included the rehabilitation centre for multiple handicapped children, community development centre, three women welfare centres in Jacobabad, Gari Khairo and Thul talukas, and a Darul Aman, the building of which was being constructed with an estimated cost of Rs34.97m.