NA committee to take up issue of Karachi’s madressah girls today

Girls after recovery are sitting for their registration before shifting to Darul Banaat child protection unit in Karachi. - PPI/file

 

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights is meeting here on Monday (today) to receive a briefing on the recovery of minor girls from various places in Karachi last month. The committee will also take up two constitution amendment bills.

According to the agenda of the meeting issued by the NA Secretariat, the committee headed by Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk has called senior officials of the ministry to brief the members about the steps taken by the government for the rehabilitation of the minor girls hailing from a tribal area and the action taken against those responsible for the crime.

Read: Police recover 36 minor girls from Karachi home

Police had recovered 36 girl students of a seminary from a house in Liaquatabad area and a flat in Korangi Crossing area of Karachi on Nov 26. These girls, hailing from Bajaur Agency, had reportedly been handed over to a family by a teacher and a supervisor of the madressah over a monetary dispute.

The seminary had handed the girls over to the family when the family was unable to repay a loan it had taken from the madressah. In order to get the loan adjusted, the seminary had reportedly asked the family to take charge of the young girls’ welfare.

Also read: Bajaur girls — Unanswered questions

Later, 15 girls were handed over to their parents in Karachi after verification and 20 were brought to Peshawar and then sent to their hometown in Bajaur Agency.

The incident drew severe reaction from political parties, civil society organisations and people from all walks of life who called for adequate punishment to those involved in illegal practice.

The matter also came under discussion during the National Assembly session when a ruling PML-N member from tribal areas, Shahabuddin Khan, brought it into the notice of his colleagues.

PPP’s female members Azra Fazal Pechuho and Nafisa Shah had assured the house at the time that their party-led provincial government in Sindh would do its best to bring to light facts about the recovery of girls.

Although police and authorities in tribal areas made claims about the arrest of some suspects in this regard, the mystery as to how these girls were transported to Karachi is yet to be resolved.

The committee will also take up two constitution amendment bills piloted by a minority MNA of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam from Balochistan, Asiya Nasir.

The first bill, moved by four MNAs, suggests an amendment to Article 251 calling upon the government to make arrangements for using Urdu for official purposes from Jan 1, 2015.

Presently, Article 251 states: “The national language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for it being used for official and other purposes within 15 years from the commencing day.”

The members have suggested replacement of the words “from the commencing day” with “from the first day of 2015”.

Through the other bill, the members have sought increase in the reserved seats in the NA for minorities from 10 to 16.

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