PESHAWAR: An investigation by the Department of Social Welfare found no signs of child sexual and physical exploitation in Darul Atfal, a shelter for destitute girls, in Peshawar.
A few days earlier, on the floor of the provincial assembly, the woman MPA of Pakistan’s ruling Tehreek-i-Insaf Madiha Nisar accused the woman administrator of the centre of abusing children at the orphanage and claimed that the centre had become a ‘child violence’ centre.
Following her accusations, Fazal Shakoor of the Chairmen’s Panel, who chaired the meeting, ordered the formation of a special committee within a week to examine the matter and submit a report.
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Interestingly, prior to the creation of the assembly’s special group, a committee of the social services department visited the centre. The secretariat of the assembly is yet to alert the commission to probe the accusations.
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Official records reveal that, since 1956, the company operating the centre has been employed in the area of philanthropic activities. The events were originally protected by the All Pakistan Women’s Association under the umbrella of (APWA). The practise was later diverted from Darul Aman to Darul Atfal in 1969 and was legally registered under the Voluntary Social Welfare Organization Ordinance, 1961, in 2010 with the social welfare department.
Sources said a three-member committee had been created by the social welfare department to audit the centre and investigate complaints against its female administrator.
An official record indicates that the committee visited the orphanage, which had 29 boys and 20 girls, under the verbal order of the additional secretary (social welfare).
The committee visited the centre but found no proof of abuse of orphanage residents, physical assault of orphan children, especially girls, and market sales of donation products.
“There is no such evidence found that supports the allegations,” the study said.
The official document stated: “The children expressed interest and satisfaction in living in the orphanage.”
The report claimed that the members of the committee had met with all the children in the centre, who told them that the management was very nice to them and supported them free of charge with all facilities.
The management offers treatment for two children who have been abandoned by an anonymous person on the doorstep of the centre since infancy. They are now grown-up men, aged 20 plus years,’ the study said.
According to it, the orphanage’s primary donor listed her name in the parentage of the two children and aided them in receiving the CNIC.
The report reported that a total of 16 paying workers were actually deputised by the administration and that the centre had all the basic amenities, including a dining hall, shops, research quarters, kitchens, washrooms and exercise rooms.
However, the committee recommended that the center’s administration strengthen the record keeping system, recruit qualified staff, expand the number of employees, and schedule children’s therapy courses.
MPA Madiha Nisar, when approached, said she had evidence of the abuse of children at the centre.
She said, noting that the committee had not been informed, “Let the speaker notify the committee and I have evidence to prove my allegations.”