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Workshop with Religious Leaders

The goal of the workshop in Lahore was to enlighten religious communities about child
protection issues and educate religious leaders on how to best prevent and stop violence. The workshop began with the recitation from Holy Quran and a speech from CAN Chairperson, Mr. Iftikhar Mubarik, in which he laid out the objectives of the workshop and stressed that religious communities can be unique and irreplaceable agents in protecting and nurturing children.

CAN Pakistan’s Director, Mr. Atif Adnan Khan, spoke about the issue of child abuse in Pakistan and
how it violated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. He talked about obstacles to
stopping violence and pressed religious leaders to educate their communities. CAN Pakistan’s Legal Aid
Officer, Mr. Iffat Saeed Ch, shared the Pakistani Laws enacted by Government of Pakistan to ensure the
protection of children and stressed that religious communities can also spread the information of
legislative developments.

Qari Sadaqat Ali, a well known religious scholar, declared that it is the responsibility of prayer leaders to
sensitize their communities on social issues like violence against children and sexual abuse. Qari Dost
Muhammad Awan, another notable religious leader and teacher, said that religious leaders are often
the first to know of problems, as they have the trust and confidence of individuals, families and
communities, and should act to stop any violence. Allama Muhammad Bashir shared that religious
communities should encourage people to treat children with love and care, and parents should give
them the confidence to speak up.

It was decided that CAN Pakistan and this group of prayer leaders will work together in protecting
children from violence. CAN Pakistan will extend technical support in organizing sessions with
communities as well as provide legal aid and IEC materials. The workshop was ended with prayer.

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