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Senate Urged To Take Up Issue of Darul Aman Kashana Allegations

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Senator Aisha Raza Farooq of the PML-N on Tuesday submitted an adjournment motion in the Senate Secretariat. The motion called upon the Upper House to adjourn proceedings and direct its attention to the issue of exploitation of underage orphan girls at Darul Aman Kashana.

Signed by senators belonging to the opposition, the motion stated, “This is an issue of national importance and the proceedings of the Senate must be adjourned immediately to discuss this.”

The allegations of horrifying exploitation had been originally brought to light by Afshan Latif, a former superintendent at the Government’s Home for Destitute Girls (Kashana) at Lahore. In a video, the superintendent had alleged that orphan girls living in the shelter homes were being “misused” at the behest of ministers and government high-ups.

She had also stated in another video that she was being pressurised by Director General Social Welfare Afshan Kiran Imtiaz to marry off underage girls on the demands of high-level government officials and even a provincial minister. Further, she had alleged that the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team had attempted to coerce her into taking back her statement, and her refusal to do so resulted in budgetary allocations to her department being held back.

The Darul Aman Kashana has already come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of these serious allegations. Earlier Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat claimed to have made a “surprise visit”. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also taken up the matter. The HRCP have, among other observations, pointed out that the official investigation in the aftermath of Afshan Latif’s allegations still suffer from a lack of transparency. The Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) which was formed after Latif’s allegations came to light included, according to the HRCP, an official who had been named by the former superintendent as one of those pressuring her. He was subsequently removed from this investigation.

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Naya Daur