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“Step towards Child Protection & Ensuring Safe Learning Environments: Islamabad launches Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules in ICT.”

Thursday, 25th May, 2023

[Islamabad], [25th May, 2023] The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Ministry of Law & Justice, Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pakistan came together in a momentous collaboration to successfully launch the "Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules, 2022." This significant event took place at the Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG), F-10/2.

The launch of the "Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules, 2022" marks a historic milestone in the relentless pursuit of protecting children from the scourge of corporal punishment within the capital territory. These comprehensive rules which stand implemented from today, fall under the "Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act, 2021" reinforcing the commitment of the government and stakeholders to eliminate corporal punishment and create a safe environment for children.

Welcoming the attendees, the Principal of Islamabad Model College for Girls F-10/2 acknowledged the relentless efforts of Ms. Mehnaz Akber Aziz and expressed her gratitude on the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Federal Education and Law in their commitment to champion the cause against corporal punishment.

The Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Mr Azam Nazeer Tarar congratulated the stakeholders in getting the corporal punishment rules implemented. He underscored that morals and values can’t be imparted through coercion or punishment and remarked that it was a late step but in the right direction. “The implementation of these rules from today shall serve as the building block in achieving our greater vision aimed at the the well-being of our children; the ultimate future of Pakistan.” He further pledged his commitment to fully support the cause of child rights and related legislations in future as well.

Mr Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Education and Professional Training also emphasized the importance of these rules in upholding children's rights and fostering a culture of non-violence. He remarked “Let us work together to implement these rules effectively and create an environment where every child feels safe and nurtured.” He hoped that these rules shall serve as the beginning of curtailing violence in schools and committed to write to all provincial education ministries to follow suit.

The mover of the bill and Convener of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights and Parliamentary Secretary Law and Justice, Ms. Mehnaz Akber Aziz in her address outlined the significance of the rules and their transformative impact on the lives of children. "Today marks a monumental step towards protecting our children and creating safe spaces for their growth and development. The launch of the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Rules is a testament to our commitment to ensuring children’s well-being and upholding their rights. These rules will provide clear guidelines and enforce strict measures to eradicate corporal punishment from educational institutions and child-related settings throughout Islamabad. I hope this will also incentivize the currently 2.4 million out of school children to head to schools."

In her remarks, she recognized the support of Prime Minister, Mian Shehbaz Sharif, the Federal Minister for Education, the Federal Minister for Law and the then Speaker of National Assembly in supporting this much-needed legislation. She highlighted that the scope of the legislation covered public and private educational institutions, orphanages, juvenile justice systems, formal and informal education institutes with Ministry of Education being the overseer of implementation.

Representative of the UNICEF in Pakistan, Mr. Abdullah A. Fadil in his remarks said “Corporal punishment can inflict immediate pain and suffering, and sadly may also cause irrevocable damage that can last a lifetime. Prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, especially in schools, is a critical step forward. We need to act now and put all our weight behind this Act, so that all children in Pakistan are able to learn and grow in a safe environment and are protected in a society which respects and upholds their rights and dignity.”

Mr Shehzad Roy, head of Zindagi Trust reaffirmed his commitment to campaign country wide for awareness raising on the matter and emphasized on the need to change mindsets of parents and teachers.

After formal addresses, pledge taking ceremony was held wherein heads of various education deptts, heads of public and private schools, mardassahs, orphanages and SOS village pledged to implement these rules in their school in letter and spirit.

The launch ceremony concluded on a poignant skit performed by children, which further underscored the urgency to eliminate corporal punishment and create nurturing environments for the young generation.

The launch event witnessed the active participation of key stakeholders, including Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson National Commission for Child Rights, Mr Zamurad Khan, head Sweet Homes Orphanage, representatives from the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Ministry of Law & Justice, civil society members, media, dignitaries, stakeholders and school children attended the event.