Islamabad - Rawalpindi police high ups aiming to improve response in child-abuse cases have directed the station house officers to immediately convey details of such cases to the high ups, The Nation learnt on Thursday.

During a visit to a police station in the city, this scribe witnessed two office orders, one of which stated that the SHOs were bound to forward details of the first information reports lodged with them in child-abuse cases to respective superintendent of police (SP). The SHOs should not hold the information to their selves only, the letter clearly stated. The SPs will then forward a compilation of the record of such cases from the police stations in his or her jurisdiction to the City Police Officer (CPO), the letter said.

An official of the police station said that purpose behind the directive was to enhance police response in such cases. The directive has been issued after the Zainab rape and murder case in Kasur got extraordinary spotlight in the media, he said.

Through the other letter, the police station officials responsible for registering the FIRs were directed to clearly mention age of the victims in abduction, rape and sodomy cases.

The police official said that the letters reflected the increased sensitivity of their high ups to the cases mentioned therein, particularly pertaining to the minors. He said that this practice would enable the police to direct more attention to such cases and also handle the same carefully.

While this scribe was still inside the police station, a person, apparently a vendor in nearby market, entered and informed that there was a stranded child standing in front of the market. Almost four to five cops jumped off their chairs and rushed out with the informer to the market.

The child-abuse cases having surfaced after the Kasur incident have come up as a big challenge for the government and the society. There have been reports of two such cases from Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa only.

Observers believe that such cases were rampant during the past several years, but until the recent Kasur incident, these were only covered in single columns of inner pages of Urdu newspapers, so people did not notice them. However, after the Zainab murder, the media, both print and electronic, English and Urdu, are highlighting every such case, therefore, frequency of these cases apparently looks to have shot up all of a sudden. Such cases were always there, but have come to the forth after the recent incidents, they observed.

–The writer is a member of staff.