CHILD PROTECTION

STRINGENT LAWS TO CHECK CHILD ABUSE

KANWAL SALEEM
Aug 25 - 31, 2008

A three-day multi-disciplinary training workshop on the management of child abuse and neglect cases was organised by Pakistan Paediatric Association (PPA) under its Optimum Care Project at Children's Hospital Lahore recently.

Trainers from ISPCAN (International Society for Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect) conducted the workshop. Prof. Bernadette Madrid and her team from the Child Protection Unit Manila-Philippines were the trainers.

The representatives of NGO's, governmental bodies, legal profession and doctors as well as nurses attended the workshop, which was locally facilitated by Pahchaan (Protection and Help of Children Against Abuse and Neglect).

The training was aimed at building the capacity of pediatricians and nurses in detecting and treating children suffering from any kind of abuse and to provide psychological assistance to the victim. The training also provided an opportunity to build linkages among the development sector and the healthcare professionals for creating child rights awareness.

At the conclusion of workshop, it was recommended that stringent laws must be made to check the menace of child abuse in Pakistan. Addressing the concluding session, Dr Tahir Masood, Dean Children's Hospital expressed his deep concern over the problem of child abuse. He announced setting up of Pakistan's first Child Protection Unit at Children's Hospital Lahore. The participants appreciated the team of Child Protection Unit - Manila for their idea sharing and capacity building of local professional groups who could then through their efforts bring a noticeable change within the society of Pakistan. A model of Child Protection Unit-Manila highlighted the measures to protect and rehabilitate any child suffering from any type of abuse.

Facilitators from Manila recommended that a law for child protection should be the part of the Constitution for the elimination of child abuse in society. Participants ensured their commitment for child protection within their area of work.

It was noticed that 205 cases of different types of abuse were reported under the Optimum Care Project - Pakistan Paediatric Association being implemented at Children's Hospital Lahore. The project has been running under the auspices of Pahchaan since January 2007.

Dr. Naeem Zafar shared facts and figures of child abuse cases happening in Pakistan. He stated that most of the child abuse cases were not being reported to the police, which was a hurdle in the elimination and eradication of child abuse.

Prof. Bernadete Madrid appreciated the efforts and work of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) against child abuse.

Attorney Katrina Legarda, Chief Prosecutor Manila, appreciated the law enforcement agents present in the training. He said it was a proof of devoted and committed social workers despite lacking in child protection laws.

VALUATION OF IMMOVEABLE PROPERTIES

KANWAL SALEEM

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has asked the Chief Secretaries of all the four provinces to respond at the earliest on the Federal Cabinet's decision to review the existing valuation rates of the immoveable properties in their provinces for the purpose of transfer of such properties.

Following the observation of the Federal Cabinet, in its meeting held on June 11, 2008, that valuation rates of immoveable properties do not commensurate with the fair market value of such immoveable properties, the Federal Finance Minister, in his letter dated June 16, 2008, had requested the Chief Ministers of all the four provinces to review and rationalise the existing values fixed for the purpose of their transfer, sources in the FBR told PAGE.

Federal Government has not received any response from any of the province so far which indicates that the matter is still under consideration of the provincial governments and the revision of the rates is yet to be made, a spokesman of the FBR said.

It may be noted that the revision of the existing fixed rates was expected to be completed during the month of June and was to be made effective from July 1, 2008.

Member (Direct Taxes), FBR, in a letter dated August 13, 2008, has requested all the Chief Secretaries to look into the matter personally and do the needful at the earliest, it added.

Moreover, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has announced details of Tax Arrears Settlement Incentive Scheme (TASIS) 2008 and Investment Tax Scheme 2008 to facilitate tax payers for the settlement of income tax and withholding tax arrears and declare assets.

In a circular dispatched to Lahore Stock Exchange (KSE), FBR has requested the stock exchange to circulate details of these schemes among its members.

Under TASIS 2008, all those taxpayers can benefit from this scheme against whom income tax and withholding tax arrears including additional tax and penalty for non-payment are outstanding.

Under Investment Tax Scheme 2008, all existing and new taxpayers can declare moveable, immoveable and undisclosed assets and legitimise their assets by paying 2 percent investment tax of fair market value as final liability.