More than 1,200 children reported missing since 2021, high court

The court was informed that the NGO shared the data with police regarding the children who disappeared from their houses.

missing children

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the police to continue making efforts to recover 12 children who had gone missing from different areas of Karachi. The order came from a non-governmental organization’s petition against the disappearance of children from different city areas.

The Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA) chief filed a progress report stating that stringent efforts are being made to trace and recover missing children. All available aids and modern technologies are being employed for the purpose.

The court was informed that the NGO shared the data with police regarding the children who disappeared from their houses. According to the data, 1,271 children had been reported missing in 2021 and 2022. Out of which, only 88 had been recovered.

The ages of most of the children were between 11 and 15 years, adding that on many occasions, FIRs of the missing children cases were not registered and investigated timely and properly.

The chief said that during joint investigation team meetings, it was noticed that missing children cases came on record during 2017 and 2018. He added that it might be possible that a group was active in kidnapping children to use them in human trafficking or other illegal activities.

He said that perhaps they had been arrested by the police, adding that the Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency had been asked to verify the information. However, the authorities concerned in both departments had not responded.

The investigating officer said that efforts are underway to find the remaining children. The information would be submitted in court and shared with their parents as soon as a child is recovered, or a clue is found.

After taking the CIA chief’s report on record, the court disposed of the petition, directing the police to continue their efforts to recover the remaining children.

The Roshni Helpline Trust had petitioned the court to issue directives to the police that the missing children’s cases be considered cognizable offenses and investigations into the cases be initiated without any delay.

The petitioner’s counsel had said that 12 children were still untraceable and requested the court to direct the police to recover them. The petitioner said that missing children cases were not properly investigated, resulting in many children losing their lives.

The petitioner claimed that it collected data on the missing children, showing that 5,000 to 6,000 children went missing every year. Yet, due to the deliberate negligence of the police, many children could not be traced and were left at the mercy of their kidnappers.

According to the petition, police registered complaints in the daily diaries of the police stations instead of registering FIRs, pointing out that if proper FIRs had been registered and the matter timely investigated, many children could have been recovered and their lives saved.

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