Second batch of 86 child jockeys arrives
LAHORE: The second batch consisting of 86 child jockeys aged between three to fifteen returned from United Arab Emirates (UAE) early on Friday morning.
The children arrived at the Lahore airport at 4:15 am by a PIA flight. They were very excited on reaching Pakistan. Dr Faiza Asghar, advisor to the chief minister on child protection, Shamshad Qureshi, UNICEF representative, and the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau officials received them.
‘Relatives’ and parents of some 20 children also arrived in the city by the same flight. The have been detained by the federal security and immigration agencies and are being investigated, officials told Daily Times. They said that sometimes relatives could not prove their relation with the children and played as agents to the children and their families.
Two UAE government officials accompanied the child jockeys. The UAE government is providing financial assistance for return and rehabilitation of these child jockeys in Pakistan. Later, the children were taken to the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau. Most of the child jockeys belong to Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Sheikhupura, Sargodha districts in Punjab and Nawab Shah and Ghotki districts in Sindh. They cannot tell anything except their names.
The child jockeys will be taken to a hostel in Sundar area near Raiwind. The Gab Trust has donated the hostel to the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau. The bureau has four child protection institutes.
Dr Faiza said the government would do its best to eliminate the menace of using children as camel jockeys. She said no DNA test was needed to determine the paternity of the children. She said the government was also taking steps to check child smuggling. She said the children would be provided facilities including shelter, food, education and healthy environment. She also thanked the UAE government for their cooperation.
The first batch of 22 child jockeys arrived from United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. According to reports, 2,500 to 3,000 children are being used as camel jockeys in UAE, Amman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and 80 percent of them are from Pakistan. The Punjab government has planned to establish a Child Protection Bureau in Rahim Yar Khan. It will also set up a hostel for 500 children in Lahore. Another batch of child jockeys is expected after a month.