Interview: Militancy and terrorism affecting children's upbringing: NGO

09:17, June 28, 2010      

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Militancy and terrorism are seriously affecting the children's upbringing and their state of mind and this is a burning issue that has come under discussion in the mock "Children Parliament", an annual exercise taken up by a Pakistan based non-governmental organization.

"Child militancy and terrorism have been discussed by children in their parliamentary sessions," Sahiba Irfan Khan, provincial coordinator of Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) told Xinhua in an interview on Sunday.

Referring to the use of boys in their early teens as suicide bombers in terrorist incidents by various disbanded extremist organizations in the country, she said the child militancy, terrorism and violence have adversely affected the psychology of children, particularly those in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan and in southwest Balochistan province.

The continuing "Children Parliament" has passed various resolutions on child labor, corporal punishment and abuse of children. The child parliamentarians have also condemned the use of children by terrorists in suicide bombing.

The 3-day inaugural session of the second "Children Parliament" which is in session in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad has elected a premier, leader of the opposition, speaker, deputy speaker and the cabinet for year-long tenure. The Children Parliament is a project designed by SPARC to create political awareness and respect for democratic norms among school children, explained Sahiba Irfan.

Comparing the current session which will conclude on Monday with the first session held last year, Sahiba Irfan said, "now we have a constitution and participating children are familiarized with many concepts."

Recalling last year's pilot project, she said "now our teams are well equipped with new ideas and concepts."

Many prominent politicians were invited last year and "our children have discussed issues with them", said Sahiba Irfan, adding that thanks to the efforts of SPARC, Pakistan's legislature has presented a bill against corporal punishment.

This year 30 districts and 10 regional assemblies were involved in the mock electoral process. Rules and regulations were formulated in line with the Constitution of Pakistan and the second batch "would take practical measures for the welfare of children," said Sahiba Irfan.

Source: Xinhua


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