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Another ‘Zainab’ raped and killed in Jaranwala: An epidemic of child sexual abuse in Pakistan

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A 7 year old girl went missing as she went out from her house to play, on Sunday 4th of April. After a fanatic search her family found her body in nearby fields, in Jaranwala. Her body flashed bruises and torture marks. After conducting a postmortem report it has been confirmed the minor was subject to sexual abuse. The report states the 7 year old was raped and strangled to death.

According to CCPO, an animal also ate a part of her body. Her body was handed over to the grieving family and the child was laid to rest after the funeral processions on Tuesday. A case against unidentified persons has been filed under the name of the deceased minor’s father Mohammad Afzal. Protests broke out, in Jaranwala, after the news of the minor girl’s rape and murder surfaced.

The committee has been tasked to expose the gangsters involved in the scandal, figure out the number of children and get other details including what action was taken by police when the first case was reported.

Traders and businessmen had closed down their shops until Supreme Court took notice. Angry baton-wielding demonstrators took to roads and demanded immediate action after the arrest of those involved in the offence. Protestors also blocked roads to schools and commercial centers were shut down. Lawyers had boycotted the judicial proceedings. Police were deployed around the city to avert any violent uprising.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken Suo Motu notice of the incident and has ordered the Punjab police chief to submit report within 48 hours.

Read more: Zainab: Daughter of Eve

An Epidemic of 36 Rapes and 33 Murders in Faisalabad

Fear has gripped the city of Faisalabad as a police report says that 33 women were murdered during the last three months in Faisalabad, while 36 were raped. Earlier this year the murder and rape of Zainab Ansari, a 7 year old resident of Kasur, had horrified Pakistan and the international community as well. It led to violent protests and a social media campaign “Justice for Zainab”.

The culprit Imran Ali, a religious singer, was awarded 4 death sentences. According to reports in the media, Aimaan Fatima, Fauzia, Noor Fatima, Sana, Asma and Laiba were among the minors that were raped in the suburbs of Kasur in 2017. Despite the public outcry, abundant media coverage and quick legal proceedings, minor girls and boys continue to fall prey to sexual abuse, which is rampant across the country.

The Punjab chief minister has formed a committee to investigate the reported alleged rape cases in Jaranwala. . However will justice served be enough to eradicate this menace from Pakistan?

There have been debates regarding the punishment and legal matters of such cases and how child sexual abuse can be prevented in Pakistan. A petition was filed in the Lahore High Court demanding the public execution of Imran Ali; however the bench division rejected the petition for being premature. There are divided opinions about providing sex education to children in a conservative country like Pakistan. However every parent and every school in Pakistan should teach children about “good touch” and “bad touch”. There are a number of validated child sexual preventive programs available that can be implemented by schools and caretakers.

Read more: Zainab’s murderer caught: Are our children safe now?

Absence of Punishment and Conviction Encourages child Sexual Abusers

Child sexual abuse is a crime according to the Pakistan Penal Code, which was amended in 2016 after recent cases, to include child pornography and sexual assault (other than rape), and made punishable by seven years in prison. However, the investigation and prosecution of these cases requires the deployment of forensic methods like DNA analysis, often crucially necessary given the age of the victims and the fact that there are few or no witnesses to the crime along with the unavailability of such evidence results in the rare, almost never, conviction of the perpetrators.

Child Pornography may be Penetrating Abusers to Commit more Crimes

According to Sahil, an organization that works on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from across the country in the first six months of 2017 alone. Child pornography has become a booming business in the dark web and minors are kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered as a part of their money making business. Before the child pornography ring was exposed in Pakistan, in 2015, rarely were there any convictions of such cases. Mohammad Asif, a fruit seller, said it was only after Zainab’s death that the family received a forensic report in the rape and killing of his daughter, 5-year-old Ayesha, who was taken from a wedding in January 2017.

Read more: Zainab atrocity brings to light other rape cases in the country

Jaranwala Case

The Punjab chief minister has formed a committee to investigate the reported alleged rape cases in Jaranwala. The committee has been tasked to expose the gangsters involved in the scandal, figure out the number of children and get other details including what action was taken by police when the first case was reported. However will justice served be enough to eradicate this menace from Pakistan?


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