The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday directed authorities to give the custody of 10 Afghan children, who were smuggled into Pakistan, to the Afghan consulate and ensure they are reunited with their parents.
The bench also told authorities to gather information about the children and submit it in the court.
The case, which was heard by PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, was regarding 10 children who, according to police, were brought to Pakistan illegally and were enrolled in a seminary in the Akora Khattak town in Nowshera.
The court was hearing an application filed by an Afghan refugee cardholder, who said that he had brought the children, who are his relatives, to Akora Khattak’s refugee camp. According to the applicant, the children had been taken away by a seminary and the administration had refused to let him see the kids.
Police told the court that the children had been brought to Pakistan illegally and had no valid documents. The applicant, too, could not explain how he brought the children to Pakistan after which the court ordered police to arrest him and investigate the matter thoroughly.
When asked why they were brought to Pakistan, the children — all of whom are aged 10 or under — said they were in the country to get religious education.
The bench was told that the children could not speak Pashto or Urdu and a translator was brought in the courtroom. The translator told the court that “it seemed as if the children have been brainwashed. They answer each question together.”
The chief justice asked authorities how the children were smuggled into the country without agencies being alerted.
“Children were brought here from Afghanistan and no one knows about this. What are the agencies doing?” Justice Seth asked. He told police to investigate how and why the children were brought to Pakistan.
The court also told authorities to take the representatives of the seminary into custody and probe the matter further. The chief justice also ordered authorities to find out if there are more Afghan children enrolled in seminaries in Pakistan and whether they have valid documents.
The Afghan consulate’s office bearer Abdul Hameed Jalili, who was in court today, told DawnNewsTV that the children hailed from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, which is under Taliban control. He said that the children had been sent to Akora Khattak by the Taliban illegally to be enrolled in a seminary for religious education.