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Pedophile gang arrested in Jaranwala, Punjab

Jaranwala
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News Analysis |

On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif took notice of Jaranwala Video Scandal and directed law enforcement agencies to take quick action against all accused at the earliest. According to various sources, the eight-member group raped minor children and made videos of the appalling acts to blackmail the victims and their families.

A child, who was a victim of sexual abuse of the gang, revealed the group after he was able to escape from their custody. The parents of the victim along with locals from the area have stated that influential personalities were involved in the act. They requested Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice on the issue.

Several more children are believed to be in the custody of the gang. While commenting on the issue State Minster Talal Chaudhry said, “No matter how strong the criminals are, a strict action will be taken against all those involved according to the law”.

Special desks dealing with child abuse must be formed in police stations in order to ensure an immediate action on such complaints. A concerted and coordinated effort is the only way to root out this evil from society.

Faisalabad police told media that several members of the gang have been arrested and that raids are being conducted to apprehend all members of this notorious gang.

Jaranwala is a city in the Faisalabad District, of Punjab, Pakistan. According to the Population Census Report of 2017, the Tehsil Jaranwala is the second largest tehsil in Faisalabad District. The Tehsil Jaranwala consists of 57 Union Councils and 256 villages, reported in Population Census Report 1998. This is the first major incident of this kind in the city.

Read more: Zainab case highlights Punjab police incompetence

Pedophiles in Pakistan?

This is not the first incident where child abuse has taken place in the country. Kasur child abuse scandal that occurred in Hussain Khanwala village in Kasur District of Punjab culminated in a major political scandal. This scandal involved sexual abuse with children, mostly males, from 2006 to 2014. The scandal involved an organized crime ring that made videos of these deplorable acts and then sold them online for money.

Many of these videos appeared on ‘porn sites’ which made Pakistan a major market of international child pornography rings. The scandal grabbed media attention and caused nationwide outrage. It was one of the largest child abuse scandals in a country which is traditionally conservative.

Requests for the formation of a judicial commission to probe the incident were rejected by CM Punjab who stated that police is already investigating the allegations and that a separate judicial commission is not required.

Several more children are believed to be in the custody of the gang. While commenting on the issue State Minster Talal Chaudhry said, “No matter how strong the criminals are, a strict action will be taken against all those involved according to the law”.

According to a report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the investigations in this scandal were hampered by political intervention and the negligence of the police. The cases are still pending in courts and most of the victims involved in the case are still awaiting justice. In Pakistan, most of the incidents of child abuse go unnoticed and unreported due to cultural limitations and fear of retaliation from the culprits who generally enjoy political support. 

Read more: Is a DNA test enough to convict the culprit in Zainab’s…

Zainab Murder Case: Nation Wakes up to a Harsh Reality

Zainab, a six-year-old girl from Kasur, was murdered after being raped by the convict Imran Ali. Her dead body was found from a heap of trash after several days. This incident led to bloody protests in Kasur. 2 men were killed by police during demonstrations which caused further outrage.

As opposed to the Kasur scandal, Punjab government took serious action and the killer was apprehended. It was later found that the convict was a local and had also been involved in the rape and murder of several other girls. On 17 February 2018, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore Central Jail found Imran Ali guilty of raping and murdering Zainab Ansari. The court handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a seven-year jail term and Rs. 3.2 million in fines. The sentence has yet to be carried out.

The Way Forward

Zainab murder case generated a serious debate in the country and the problem of child abuse got massive attention. The weak justice system, the impotency of police, lack of interest on part of the political elite and several cultural hurdles have facilitated the growth of this phenomenon in the country. The murder of the Zainad, Kasur scandal and the more recent Jaranwala Video Scandal indicate that serious steps need to be taken to arrest this phenomenon.

Requests for the formation of judicial commission to probe the incident were rejected by CM Punjab who stated that police is already investigating the allegations and that a separate judicial commission is not required.

No single stakeholder can solve this problem. Coordination between all sections of society and the government is required to clamp down upon the problem of child abuse in the country. Children must be trained to fend off ‘inappropriate advances’ while parents must be encouraged to keep an eye on their children in addition to reporting such incidents to the concerned authorities.

Read more: Zainab case: Police finally arrest culprit!

Ulemas can also play a vital role in educating the masses on the child abuse. Islamic teachings on the drawbacks and the punishments for this offense must be imparted to the masses in order to create moral hurdles for those who carry out such heinous acts.

The government must also take serious steps to stop such incidents. Police must be overhauled and tasked to tackle such issues on priority basis. Special desks dealing with child abuse must be formed in police stations in order to ensure an immediate action on such complaints. A concerted and coordinated effort is the only way to root out this evil from society.


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