With the waning of what can be deemed as the tumultuous crescendo of public ire in bringing Zainab’s murderer to justice, amidst the thunderous rage and avid media scrutiny that created a frenzied due trial ( a rushed process, one which many asserted could lead to the apprehension of the wrong man in an effort to mollify the public), it seems that the aplomb adopted by the government in addressing the issue of child abuse has reached a corresponding ebb as well, as, much to its disgrace, 12 child abuse cases have so far surfaced in Kasur district since Zainab’s murder.

The case in point highlights the very tragedy of our technology-driven conscience as a society. It is in no means to trivialise the horror of social ills like child abuse, or Zainabs case in particular, but the very capricious nature of our flighty indignation as a society also plays into the trope of the state’s fickle attitude in bringing any permanent change. Where the incendiary outrage of the larger public is limited to the most viral and provocative trending post of the day on social media, the clamorous social umbrage does go a long way in garnering a collective voice against social issues. The society mobilising as a collective voice, demanding justice against perpetrators, holding discrepancies in the enforcement system and corruption in power matrices as accountable, rouses an otherwise somnambulistic political system to simulate some form of ameliorative action. In the wake of this rude awakening, the only way to keep the momentum going is to maintain that burning media scrutiny and public indignation with the same intensity. However, subject to enough time and ever new trending calamitous issues, the same resounding outrage is redirected elsewhere.

This receding accountability is a turn of events that the system invariably counts upon, resettling into the previous status quo on such issues. The issue of child abuse in Kasur was by no means a social anomaly; Over the years there have been repeated reports of abuse and undercurrents of social outrage. And despite the climatic response towards Zainab’s murder, no long-term planning, preventive measures or effective policies have been implemented in Kasur. It is high time the government starts to drive itself in such matters instead of feigning an interest at public outcry. Where armchair activism does have its day, the effects are fleeting and will bring no real change unless amalgamated with government institutions, or organised to contribute to the formulation of an effective policy on child abuse as an issue.