Pakistan

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/68/878–S/2014/339) issued on 15 May 2014.

The recruitment of children by armed groups in Pakistan, including reportedly for use as suicide bombers and bomb planters, remained a grave concern in 2013. For example, in March, the police arrested 11 children, between 10 and 17 years of age, who were allegedly used by the United Baloch Army to plant improvised explosive devices. All the children were held in the government of Balochistan security facility awaiting trial at the time of reporting. No exact figures could be established on the number of children used by armed groups, in particular in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. However, on 24 October, 21 children, between 7 and 12 years of age, allegedly proceeding to Pakistan for military training by the Taliban were detained by Afghan security forces in Nuristan Province. The Taliban rejected those allegations.

Although exact figures of child casualties were not always available in 2013, improvised explosive device blasts were reported to have killed at least 18 children and injured 76 others, particularly in the Provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For example, a twin suicide attack on 22 September at the All Saints Church in Peshawar city, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, killed 81 people, including an unknown number of children. A splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, the Tehrik-i-Taliban-Jandullah, claimed responsibility. In another attack, on 20 June 2013, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia mosque in Quetta, Balochistan, followed by a remote-controlled improvised explosive device explosion after civilians and rescue workers had reached the site, killing at least 28 persons, including 3 children, and injuring 65 others. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility. On 16 February, in a suicide attack by an unknown group in a marketplace near the Hazara town of Quetta, 92 people were killed and 254 injured, including at least
45 women and 28 children. In addition, attacks by armed assailants, mainly in Balochistan and the city of Karachi, caused the death of 7 children and injured 16. Armed clashes between the security forces and armed groups and between armed groups themselves in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas resulted in the death of one child and the injury of four.

Targeted attacks on schools, teachers and schoolchildren have continued, mainly carried out by the Tehrik-i-Taliban and aligned local groups, with 78 attacks reported to the United Nations. The highest number of attacks on schools occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (51), followed by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (19). In one incident, on 30 March, a school principal was killed and eight students, between 5 and 10 years of age, were injured when two men on a motorcycle hurled hand grenades and opened fire in a primary school in Karachi. Twenty-six attacks targeted female educational institutions. In January 2013, armed elements reportedly killed five female teachers and two health workers returning by bus from a community project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. On 26 March, a female teacher was executed in the presence of her 13-year-old son on her way to school by two unidentified armed elements in Khyber Agency, Federally Administered Tribal Areas. On 5 September, a bomb blast outside the Government Girls’ Primary School in Bannu district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, allegedly carried out by the local Taliban, injured 13 female students below the age of 10. Several schools, in particular girls’ schools, also received threats by armed groups resulting in closures. For example, on 15 April, a Taliban faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur threatened boys and girls if they violated his ban on five schools in Miranshah, North Waziristan. The United Nations also received reports that Pakistan security forces were using Government school buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas to launch operations against armed groups.

Attacks on polio workers continued, resulting in the killing of several polio workers and eight police workers providing escort. On 21 November, 11 teachers and local volunteers were abducted from a private school in Khyber Agency after polio vaccinations had taken place in the school. The abduction was allegedly carried out by the Lashkar-e-Islam group, and the victims were released after a few days unharmed. Hospitals and medical clinics were also targeted. At least four people were killed, including at least one hospital staff, and five injured in a suicide bomb attack on a hospital in Bajaur tribal area on 20 April. On 15 June, at least
25 civilians were killed and many others wounded in a coordinated attack claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi on a bus with female university students and, subsequently, the Medical Complex in Quetta, where casualties of the first attack received treatment.

The Government took steps towards strengthening its child protection policy and legislative framework, including the approval of a Balochistan child protection policy and the vetting and submission to the Cabinet of a child protection act for Balochistan; formulation of rules of business for the Child Protection and Welfare Commission in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and for the Child Protection Authority in Sindh; and the appointment of a Child Rights Commissioner at the federal level and in all provinces of Pakistan. I encourage the Government of Pakistan to continue its efforts to better protect children. My country team in Pakistan stands ready to support the Government in this regard.