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 © The Nation

© The Nation

PAKISTAN – Adnan is a child on the move, 15-year old, one of the 196 children languishing in the Youthful Offenders Industrial School (YOIS), in Karachi Central Jail. He told his appalling story during the sessions with young inmates organized by the Foundation for Research and Human Development (FRHD), in collaboration with Sindh prisons department, Terre des Hommes and DevCon in the framework of the Destination Unknown Campaign.

Adnan was forced to leave his home due to the extreme poverty of his family: he moved from a remote village of Multan district in southern Punjab to Karachi where he started to work in order to earn a living.

One night while returning home from his workplace, he was caught by a police patrol officer that accused him of being the boy who had fired at police.

Since then he has been kept in jail without being able to contact someone to ask for help. He experienced torture, abuse and brutal treatment by police who implicated him in a crime of which he was not guilty:

 “I am not allowed to call my parents and factory boss to inform them about the situation and seek their help. My days are passing in darkness without any reason. I have been forced to confess the crime which I even never to imagine“, he said.

The case of Adnan was not isolated: other 14 children on the move are imprisoned in YOIS as reported by Nazra Jahan, head of FRHD.  Moreover, it was pointed out that hundreds of children migrate in Pakistan in order to find a job and support their families, while risking to end up in jail and to be deprived of their fundamental rights.

The sessions during which this data were gathered aimed at identifying the reasons that bring children on the move to be legally implicated and the possibilities for their development and reintegration into society: the imprisoned children expressed their desire to be educated in order to have better opportunities in their future.

For this purpose, during the final session, Aurangzeb Kango, Superintendent of YOIS, highlighted the importance of ensuring interaction with the children and called for the appointment of professionals to provide them with counselling and support for their re-socialization and personal development.

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