When there is crime in society,

there is no justice.

                                             –Plato

 

Kasur is once again in the media because of horrifying news. Seven-year-old Zainab was raped and murdered in cold blooded and her dead body was hurled over a heap of garbage. The incident paints a grotesque picture of the state which seems totally disconnected with its dwellers and their sufferings. Little Zainab went missing five days before her tragic death while she was on her way to Quran classes. What happened to seven-year-old Zainab is unimaginably horrific. We couldn’t even allow our minds to consider what the small child had gone through after her abduction till her tragic death. It is an open secret that in our country women and children are the most vulnerable beings and Zainab’s case is the latest example.

The dreadful incident sparked anger among people. It is mainly because Zainab was a little girl who lost her life after facing extreme brutality, secondly in short span of time almost 12 such cases were reported and majority of them were girls. All these cases were reported in the jurisdiction of three police stations. It means that the crime had actually never stopped in this district and higher authorities including police never took it serious. This time people were so much annoyed that the authorities had to take it seriously and promised to bring the culprits to justice as soon as possible. Had they brought the gang in Kasur sex scandal brought to justice and awarded public punishment, the consequence wouldn’t have been different.

Happening of one sort of crime again and again makes us realize that we as a nation standing at the same juncture where we have lot of proofs but also lack of action to eradicate such evils in the society. The body of this little girl was found in garbage is a huge question mark on the laws in our society and their implementation. Especially when Kasur is the exact same place where child sexual abuse scandal surfaced in the past and caused an outraged among the masses.

There are many reasons that why these events are happening again and again. We are a conservative society and of us don’t muster up the courage to report such cases to the police or speak out against abuse. There is a dominant social behavior of staying mum on such kind of issues. Stay mum, because the society won’t accept them or consider them ‘normal’. People also believe that they will not get justice if they speak about it, rather it will bring disrespect from society and bad name among their near and dear ones.

Another main reason is that many culprits involved in such heinous crimes are caught by police, but due to our poor judicial system, these offenders gets bail. The weak criminal justice system has increased insecurity among people. Judiciary is a very important pillar of society, and therefore, it is a huge responsibility for them as well to swiftly look and respond to these criminal cases, and must not easily let them go. It takes a mammoth effort to capture criminals but it takes a second to set them free. Despite the outrage triggered in this case, the criminal justice system remained as dysfunctional as ever because before Zainab’s abduction and rape is reportedly, 12 similar cases still unsolved in past two years.

A number of children face abuse every day and no one notices it because society does not understand what abuse is. Many cases are never reported. Almost each day, as we go through the papers, we find horrific cases, many buried among inconsequential news as if the rape or even the murder of a child were a non-event. Society should realize that child abuse, especially sexual abuse, affects the victims’ self-esteem, confidence and also their future prospects, i.e. family and marital affairs.

In our country the initial response from public comes against state and its callous and indifferent attitude to its duty to protect citizens. Criminal investigations are not of a standard that can lead to prosecutions. Riots broke out in Kasur as a result of the incident but protestors received gunshots instead of justice. This is how our state treats people seeking justice.

It is high time that we unite and urge our institutions to take strict legal measures. Our criminal justice system must be overhauled and reformed to serve the people. Public wants to see the culprit getting their due punishment for such heinous crime. It will not only relieve the heart ache that every Pakistani is going through but it will also set an example for these fearless perpetrators. Such criminals who live amongst us should no longer be able to freely walk the streets. People want justice for Zainab and even for those victims who were reported in the newspapers the same day in parts of Punjab other than Kasur. People want justice for every child that had to go through the same. It is going to be highly shameful and a disservice to the life lost, if this becomes another case swept under the rug.

 

The author is based in Lahore.

hammadahmad1971@gmail.com