South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

While regretting attempts by authorities, political and civil both, to confuse and undermine the incidence of child sexual abuse in Kasur, members of civil society and child rights movement registered a strong protest outside the National Press Club on Monday warning the government of a backlash. Child Rights Movement (CRM) and member organizations had organized the peaceful protest.

Holding placards and banners with anti-child abuse slogans, dozens of people from all walks of life, civil society, academia, lawyers, doctors, students, and media persons condemned the incident and demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators.

They shared with the press startling facts that in Punjab alone 2,245 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2014. This is more than 55pc of the overall reported cases, around 3,500 in the country with Kasur accounting for most of the cases.

The data further reveals that 445 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in District Kasur between 2012-14, making the district of Sufi Saint Baba Bulleh Shah one of the top ten districts with highest ratio of child sexual abuse. Still there are many such cases that go unreported, it further implies.

Addressing the peaceful demonstrators, noted human rights worker Samar Minallah said this is the right moment we needed to talk on this issue and expose those who are committing the crime against the children. She called upon the government to consider crime against children as crime against state. She condemned the attempts by the local administration to confuse the issue.

Dr Bashir H Shah, psychologist said no one is denying the issue, difference is only that of numbers. Unfortunately, sodomy is a culturally accepted norm especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. There are examples of ‘child trophy’ duringAfghan wars and children are exchanged as gifts or trophies among tribes.

Child abuse is common in rural and semi-urban areas and among its perpetrators include drivers, teachers, mechanics and even elderly relatives of child. He said there are a number of bills/laws on protection of children pending before the Parliament but no action has been taken so far.

Sher Zaman Coordinator CRM called for bringing the perpetrators of child abuse in the dock. On the occasion a number of demands were made by the assembly of child rights workers: immediate arrest, prosecution and conviction of the accused in Kasur and other child sexual abuse cases/rape, protection of the all-important visual, chemical and forensic/DNA evidence, approval of the long-awaited Punjab Child Protection Policy and enactment of a comprehensive Child Protection legislation by the Punjab government, establishment of a Child Protection System across all the federating units in Pakistanand establish protective agencies and coordination mechanisms and train duty bearers and others. Updated On: August 11, 2015