Earlier this week a minor domestic worker in Rawalpindi passed away after being violently beaten by her employers. The victim, eight-year-old Zohra Shah was attacked for setting an expensive parrot free. The social media demands justice for Zohra Shah.
Following her demise, social media went in an uproar with public figures from the showbiz industry and otherwise raising their voices against the tragic incident.
Mahira Khan shared the news bit and referred to the perpetrators as “demons”. “The demons walk freely among us,” she said.
The demons walk freely among us.. https://t.co/3MJ1twbhyn
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) June 3, 2020
As the trend went upside onTwitter, justice for Zohra Shah, social media personality Shaniera Akram reminded everyone that child labour was against the law. “Anyone who has a person working for them in their house who is under the age of 14, and I don’t care if they are your longtime staff members son or daughter who’s living with you, you are breaking the law.If you really want to look after that child then send them to school not work!” she said.
ANYONE who has a person working for them in their house who is under the age of 14, & I don’t care if they are your longtime staff members son or daughter whos living with you, you are breaking the law.If you really want to look after that child then send them to school not work!
— Shaniera Akram (@iamShaniera) June 3, 2020
Back in 2017, a girl, Tayyaba, aged 10 who worked as a maid for a Pakistani judge shows signs of having been tortured, a medical board said. The girl suffered injuries including burns to her hands and feet, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has said. The civil society and social media activists are now again demanding justice for Zohra Shah.
Child abuse cases in Pakistan
Notably, in 2019, the Senate’s special body was informed that as many as 500 cases of child abuse surfaced in Islamabad during the last five years. The Ministry of Human Rights in a meeting with a Parliamentary Committee informed that only 30% of the children are registered in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the authorities to take stern action against those involved in the inhumane crime of child abuse.
According to a report issued by child rights organisation Sahil in September, at least seven children are abused in Pakistan daily. The report revealed that from January to June in the current year, 1,304 cases of sexual abuse of children have been reported by the media in the country.
Read More: Child abuse & Public Hanging: Whose dignity matters?
The report said that the data from January to June in 2019 reveals that 729 girls and 575 boys became victims of sexual exploitation. The cases under major categories included 378 of abduction, 139 of rape, 153 of sodomy, 46 of gang rape, 88 of gang sodomy whereas 12 boys and four girls have been murdered after sexual abuse.
In Lahore only, there were 50 incidents reported last year while nine children had been abducted and 12 reported missing from January to June 2019. January to June data gave grim numbers as it included five incidents of rape, seven of sodomy, three of gang rape and five of gang sodomy.
The most common perpetrator of the child sex abuse was an acquaintance with the victim and the victim’s family. Out of a total of 1,304 cases, 614 cases were such where the abusers had acquaintance with victims or victim’s family. In all, 142 cases were reported in which strangers were involved in abusing children.
Read More: Child abuse: What Pakistan must do to curb it?
As the social media demands justice for Zohra Shah, experts believe that effective legislation is key to protect children across the country. The current government is particularly focusing on finding out ways that may help to ensure the security of every child in rural as well as urban areas of Pakistan.