Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the authorities to take stern action against those involved in the inhumane crime of child abuse. He expressed shock over children’s rape and pornography scams surfacing in Kasur and Chunian. He reportedly directed the chief minister and senior officials to engage religious scholars, notables, schoolteachers and parents and offer them proper training and awareness to save children from falling prey to criminals.
Following a briefing by Punjab Inspector General of Police retired Capt Arif Nawaz, the Prime Minister stressed that criminals needed to be identified by the community well in time. He said a full-fledged campaign should be launched, besides making coordinated efforts, by the government and the community to control heinous crimes against children.
#PM @ImranKhanPTI referring to incidents of child abuse in Kasur, Chunian says he is deeply grieved over such incidents, also directed to take strict action against criminal elements https://t.co/IVE8OzR59e pic.twitter.com/17t9CiC1z4
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) October 28, 2019
Mr Khan also ordered strict action against the mafias involved in different crimes. “I will be standing behind the officials who feel pressurised from influential criminals,” he said.
Recently, several cases of child abuse were reported from Lahore and its neighbouring cities which drew the attention of local as well as global media. PM Imran has said more than once that it was the paramount responsibility of the state to protest children.
PM’s Special Adviser on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed death penalty be fixed for all those involved in child abuse. He had expressed this resolve during a meeting of the federal cabinet, showing concern over the rise in misuse of the internet for child pornography and a subsequent increase in incidents of child abuse.
According to Awan, the prime minister addressed in detail the ministries of human rights, law, and especially the interior ministry, and gave them the responsibility of examining, assessing and analysing the existing juvenile laws regarding sexual violence, sexual exploitation, rape of children, and other violent behaviours.
“All three ministries have been instructed to get together on this, prepare an implementation plan and bring it before the cabinet so that this growing menace can be curbed with an effective law and a mechanism of deterrence, as well as awareness, can be created,” she said.
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.
Prime minister Imran khan proposed death penalty for child abuse.Great decision and should be hanged publically. pic.twitter.com/E3PZSoAuXc
— Khazeemayyy زainab 🇵🇰 (@Khizzuu_15) May 30, 2019
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.
Experts believe that effective legislation is key to protect children across the country. The current government is particularly focusing on finding out ways which may help to ensure the security of every child in rural as well as urban areas of Pakistan.