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At least nineteen children were arrested on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan's Punjab region between January 1, 2023 and October 16, 2023.
According to data available with The News International, 6 out of these 19 children are in prison charged with blasphemy while the others were acquitted.
These figures have been made public by the Inspectorate General of Punjab Prisons in an appeal submitted to the Punjab Information Commission by the director of Legal Awareness Watch, Sarmad Ali.
When contacted by The News International, appellant Sarmad Ali explained that numerous children across Pakistan are facing penal charges that carry severe punishment. Ali said that some of these children are not allowed to establish their juvenility under Section 8 of the Juvenile Justice System Act 2018. Sarmad Ali elaborated: “Thus, owing to inadequate and effective implementation of [the] cited law which was promulgated in May 2018, many children have been [held] without fair trial or [have been] sentenced to severe punishment in sheer ignorance of the international standards and conventions which the state of Pakistan is signatory to.”
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