Zainab Alert App- Another Measure to Ensure Child Safety in Pakistan

The Federal Human Rights Ministry along with Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit (PMDU) was successful in launching the Zainab Alert app with the sole purpose of reporting missing children and ensuring child safety in Pakistan. The app is launched on Pakistan Citizen’s Portal.

The application is dedicated to child abuse victims and is an effort to track and trace missing children and child abuse cases. The app was developed following the recent enactment of the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act (ZARRA) in March 2020.

The Zainab Alert Bill and its associated app have been named after Zainab Ansari, a girl who lost her life after being brutally raped and murdered in 2018 in the eastern city of Kasur, Punjab.

The app was launched in a ceremony attended by Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari and Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar along with Zainab’s father, Amin Ansari as a guest of honor.

Shireen Mazari said that the complaints registered with the app will allow the police to carry out an immediate investigation of the matter. The app is integrated with district police officers throughout the country with its linkage to 36 police officers in Punjab, 33 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, and 50 in Sindh. She further said that the app is designed in a way that making a fake alert is not possible.

Mazari added that in the future, the government holds the plan for formulating a national directory that would work with Edhi and other charities to develop a child safety mechanism.

Deputy Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Adil Saeed Safi, stated the technical aspects of the app. He explained that the app utilizes technologies such as artificial intelligence, facial recognition, geo-tagging, and mapping.

The app is launched in a response to the ever-increasing number of child abductions and rapes in Pakistan. Most recent statistics, shown by the non-profit organization Sahil in its “Cruel Numbers” report stated the devastating number of more than 8 children’s subjection to sexual abuse on an average day in the first 6 months of 2020. The reports further stated that 38 children were killed after being raped.

Zainab Alert app, if used to its full potential, can be taken as another milestone achieved by the government to reduce child abuse cases in the country.