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LAHORE: Ombudsman Punjab Maj Azam Suleman Khan (retd) has said that a composite roadmap would be drawn up in collaboration with line departments, welfare bodies and assembly members to curb online exploitation and harassment of children.

He said this while presiding over a meeting of the working group for the elimination of online exploitation of children.

MPAs namely Shamsa Ali and Zainab Lodhi, Chairperson National Committee for Children of Federal Ombudsman Ms Shaheen Atiq-ur-Rehman and Grievance Commissioner for Children Syeda Viqar un Nisa Hashmi, Chairperson Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Hina Jilani, Chairperson Child Protection and Welfare Bureau Sarah Ahmed, Secretary Information and Culture Raja Jahangir Anwar, DGPR Punjab Ms Saman Rai, DG Social Welfare Department Mudassar Riaz Malik, special secretaries of school education and higher education departments, representatives of the Auqaf department and Additional IG Police attended the meeting.

At the outset, Ombudsman Azam Suleman Khan disclosed that the working group would outline practical recommendations in collaboration with line departments to eradicate the menace of online exploitation of children and promote safe internet activities in the province.

The government was committed to promoting a child-friendly society at the provincial, divisional, district and grassroots, he stressed. Instead of myriad of helplines of government departments, there should be a dedicated helpline to deal with children’s issues so that the needy could be timely helped, he suggested. It is needed to sensitize the general public to promote a child-friendly society and the role of social media is important, he added. He further said that the ombudsman’s office has a forum for the protection of children rights and complaints related to children were being dealt with on time.

The participants also discussed the case referral system and it was decided that a roadmap would be chalked out to ensure timely delivery of justice through mutual coordination of line departments.

It stressed that parents and teachers should sensitise children about safe online activities and in this regard, awareness subjects should be added to the school curriculum. A campaign should also be launched so that the internet users pick legal assistance in case of need. Instead of being subjected to any kind of harassment, they should seek legal help.

The participants appreciated the formation of the working group adding that the ombudsman office should continue to perform its role with regard to accountability and supervision.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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