April 14th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be the first province to frame a law to regulate child adoption in the country, following a resolution calling for legislation to protect adopted children.
Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, Member of Provincial Assembly from Pakistan People’s Party in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly said that she had moved a resolution in the assembly on April 9, pointing out that there was no law in place to regulate the adoption of children with controversial parentage in the country.
She said that the resolution was passed unanimously by the assembly and the treasury had assured her supporting tabling a private member’s bill on child adoption. “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be the first province to frame legislation on child adoption. The state will make sure that the (adopted) child’s future is secure and a whole new system is in place for the adoption of children in the province,” she said. Explaining the need for the legislation, Orakzai said there is no legal mechanism or laws on child adoption in the country.
“Presently, a man or a woman has to simply apply to a private hospital or a government department that he/she wishes to adopt a child,” she said. There is no government mechanism to check whether the person wishing to adopt a child has resources to ensure the proper upbringing of the adopted child. There are instances, where a man with five daughters has applied for adoption of a male infant regardless of the fact that he being a hawker could hardly afford the expenses of another child, she added.
Similarly, there have been reports of child trafficking and prostitution gangs involved in child adoptions for money, she said. The danger of an adopted child being brainwashed into terrorism or fall prey to organ traffickers are other scary scenarios in such child adoptions, she added.
“Through this resolution, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly recommends that the provincial government legislate on a legal framework for adoption of children with controversial parentage in order to provide socio-religious protection to these children and resolve difficulties faced by different govt departments,” reads the resolution. Orakzai said the purpose of the proposed legislation is to regulate all child adoptions and compilation of data for monitoring and checking.
“Once the legislation is done, the government will be able to track the adopted child and monitor his/her upbringing by the adoptive parents,” she explained. Oraakzai said the government would be able to check whether the adopted child was not being mistreated or abused. Such legislation will help eradicate the evils prevalent in society, she added. Shaukat Yousafzai, Minister Labour and Culture, had told the provincial assembly that there is no legal procedure to adopt children in the province, adding that there is no data with the government about child adoptions in the province. He said the adopted children when they reached adulthood should be aware of their family background, adding that he would also take up the proposed legislation on child adoption with the provincial cabinet.