A recent meeting of the Women and Social Welfare Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens (MoWCSC) to amend the Children’s Act so as to clarify the role and responsibility of all three tiers of the government in improving children’s lives.

Pointing out various inadequacies in the existing act, the Committee also directed MoWCSC to define the threshold of each year’s budget to be allocated for children by all levels of the government.

“The National Planning Commission, Ministry of Finance, MoWCSC and Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration need to act in tandem to allocate certain percentage of the national budget for children through the federal, provincial and local levels, with effect from the next fiscal. The lack of consistency in budget allocation exists due to lack of clear provisions in the law,” reads the Committee’s decision paper posted on its website.

“As our goal is to ensure children’s development, effective implementation of their right to learn in a peaceful, punishment-free, and disabled-friendly environment provides kids with better guidance for the future,” it said.

The Committee also highlighted the need for an audit to determine the returns of investment made in children, every year.

Similarly, the committee also expressed serious concern about the lack of children’s access to justice due to the growing trend of settling cases related to children through reconciliation, without conducting legal proceedings.

Meanwhile, the Committee also urged MoWCSC to initiate the process of increasing the degree of punishment to perpetrators of acid attacks.

Section 193 of the Criminal Code Act states a prison term ranging from five to eight years, depending on the gravity of the offence, and a fine between Rs 100,000 and Rs 300,000 for anyone found guilty of throwing acid on a person or using any chemical substance to attack an individual.

As per the law, the fine imposed on the perpetrator(s) shall be provided to the survivor. In the case of death of the victim in such an attack, the perpetrator(s) will face murder charge under the prevailing laws.