ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain said the protection of child rights and ensuring equal opportunities to them required a strong and robust partnership between public and private agencies and called for collective efforts to protect and promote their rights. “I, therefore, call upon the parents, teachers, members of the civil society, NGOs, volunteers, philanthropists, international development partners, media and corporate houses to play their constructive role towards promotion and protection of the rights of children,” he said in his message to the nation on Universal Children Day being observed Monday (November 20). He said as Pakistan joins the international community to celebrate Universal Children Day, we re-affirm our commitment and determination to safeguard the rights of our children. He said the observance of the Children Day today should serve to remind us of our obligation to the children as ordained in the injunctions of our religion and also in the Constitution. Being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Pakistan remains in the forefront to advocate, protect and promote child rights. For this, the government has undertaken all necessary measures to ensure better livelihood, education, healthcare and protection of children, he added. President Mamnoon said Islam enjoins upon us the sacred task of care, protection and development of our children. Pursuant to our religious and international obligations, the government is fully cognizant of the need for protection and development of children, who are our greatest asset, he maintained. “As an Islamic Republic, we are obligated to promote best interests of children and provide them with access to equal opportunities without any discrimination. Let us reiterate our commitment to provide our children with a conducive environment to enable them to become useful citizens of the country as well as productive members of the world community. Our resolve towards child welfare continues to reflect in our state policies,” he stated. He commended the efforts of Ministry of Human Rights for promulgating the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016, which explicitly provides for stringent and deterrent punishment for offences against children including exposure to seduction, child pornography, sexual abuse and human trafficking. He also admired the efforts of the ministry for promulgating the National Commission on the Rights of the Child 2017 which is mandated to address the issues of child rights violations in the country. The president appreciated the NGOs for advocating and highlighting the child rights as well as related issues and hoped that they will continue to pursue this important mission with the same zeal and spirit.