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While Children have remained one of the extremely vulnerable groups of the society, the rising abuse cases against them is an interpretation of perpetual intolerance and barbarism that is slowly poisoning our society. This also exposes an indigestible ashamed facet of the human nature, which symbolizes the new psychological lows our society is touching.

This crisis is taking an uncontrolled upsurge despite being reported by media and vehemently propagated by the agencies working to stem child abuse. However, they seem helpless in curbing this menace.

The continuous collective failure and an inept legal system have led to a stark 10% percent increase in the cases of sexual abuse against children as mentioned in the recent report presented to Senate committee yesterday. Where Punjab is at the epicenter of child abuse cases, it’s the children living predominantly in rural areas that are at the risk of abuse, especially physical.

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More than 100 cases of violence against children, including cases of murder and sexual abuse, were reported during the ongoing year in the Sheikhupura region, which comprises the Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib and Kasur districts.

The report documented 111 instances of horrific violence against children. For example, two boys and five girls were killed after being raped in Kasur, whereas three children in Nankana Sahab and 11 in Sheikhupura survived murder attempts after being raped, the police official, along with Kasur’s senior superintendent of police, told the Senate committee.

The statistics have confirmed the apprehensions that police and district administrations have failed to control this evil. The situation has not improved even after the biggest child abuse scandal was reported in Kasur last year. The scandal which unveiled an organized group of rapists which was found guilty of committing heinous crimes of selling videos of child pornography to porn sites alongside blackmailing the families of the victims for money. Almost 300 children were abused at the hands of this criminal group, which later was found having links with a political figure, Malik Ahmed Saeed, a provincial member of the Muslim League Nawaz from Kasur.

A national failure

The recent upsurge of such cases has brought to light various disturbing factors. Where the inefficiencies of the legal system have spilled out, there are also many other prime factors that need to be scrutinized if there is a will to combat this crisis.

Where the social crisis of poverty, lower literacy and the absence of sturdy legislation for child protection are the pinning reason for triggering the crisis. There also hover the question above all as to why only Punjab is becoming the epicentre of child abuse, where more or less the same social crisis with similar ratio is afflicting the rural population of other provinces too?

Though nothing can be ascertained, one plausible answer might be the higher reporting of such cases in Punjab as compared to other provinces. However, the propensity of cases going towards its culmination and culprits being heavily sanctioned for the crime is still below expectation.

Such crimes are however, a direct denunciation of the Article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan, which gives every child the right to live in safe environment. The absence of a well chalked out child protection legislation has given support to legislator’s and official’s lack of will to tackle the issue.

The topic, as opposed to the self-imposed norms of the society, is no longer a social taboo that can’t become a part of the national discussions. Where terrorism and safety from external aggression have been making airwaves for more than a decade, this evil which is nipping the morality of our society in the butt must also be discussed. The government must take serious steps to curb this menace and give exemplary punishment to those who carry out or abet this crime.

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