LAHORE - The lawyers’ community on Saturday demanded a judicial inquiry into the country’s biggest case of children’s sexual abuse in Ganda Singhwala and Hussain Khanwala villages of Kasur district.

The lawyers said the children’ abuse is a horrible incident, but the investigation would point out how many articles of the Constitution or sections of Pakistan Penal Code would apply to it. They said, “If a child is sexually abused or an unnatural offence is committed, Section 377 of Pakistan Penal Code will apply while Section 376 of PPC deals with rape.”

Section 376 of PPC says, “Whoever commits rape shall be punished with death or imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 10 years or more than 25 years and shall also be liable to fine. When rape is committed by two or more persons in furtherance of common intention of all, each of such persons shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.”

As far as sodomy and unnatural offences are concerned, Section 377 of Pakistan Penal Code deals with such them. It says, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years and not more than 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The lawyers condemned the incident and demand a judicial inquiry or a suo motu notice of it the Supreme Court. Pedophiles and abettors of sexual abuse with children do not deserve mercy; rather they deserve strict punishment so that no one could dare to even think of it in future, the lawyers stated.

Talking to the Nation, former law minister and expert of criminal justice system, Dr Khalid Ranjha, said it is due to the negligence of the parents who don’t care about the activities of their children.

He observed it is not only an issue of Pakistan but also that of the world. He averred, “Most of such incidents are not reported. Children are more vulnerable to such violence.” When asked what maximum punishment could be given to the culprits involved in sodomy and sexual abuse of children, he replied these crimes attract sections 376 and 377 of Pakistan Penal Code.

Lahore High Court Bar Association President Pir Masood Chishti said the bar condemned the incident of sexual abuse of children. He said it was the most shocking incident in the country’s history and demanded a judicial inquiry into it.

“I strongly condemn this incident and have no words to describe the shameful inhuman act,” said Chishti. He demanded suo motu notice of the incident or a judicial inquiry. The criminals do not deserve mercy and leniency, he added.

Former Lahore Bar Association president and Punjab Bar Council member Rana Zia Abdur Rehman, when contacted, remarked he fails to find words to condemn the most heinous offence and shameful incident in the country’s history in which 280 children were abducted, tortured and sexually abused in two villages, Ganda Singh Wala and Hussain Khan Wala, of Kasur district. Ran Zia, who is LHCBA presidential candidate and Gallant Lawyers Forum chief patron, said theperpetrators of this heinous crime who do not deserve to be called humans must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Most of the victims were under 14. A six-year-old boy was subjected to this act while a 10-year-old schoolgirl was also filmed while being molested by a 14-year-old boy.

SM Zafar condemned the shameful incident and urged the government to fulfil its responsibility in this regard. “A number of sections and articles apply to this case, which could only be revealed after a thorough investigation,” said Zafar. He was, however, of the opinion that a judicial inquiry should not be held as it could affect the smooth process of investigation. He further opined that separate FIRs should be registered in each child’s case. “We have lost ethics and values, owing to which we are facing such shameful incidents,” he held.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Azam Nazir Tarar said Section 377 of PPC applies to such a case. He further pointed out that if such incidents affect people of a region or a large area, sections of Anti-Terrorism Act can also be invoked. The police should not spare any person involved in sexual abuse of children, Tarar stated.

Judicial Activism Penal Chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident, saying child abuse and rape at a large scale and for so long expose the poor administrative control of the government. He announced to provide legal assistance to the victims’ families.

It is the first-ever incident in the country’s history of this scale, where 280 children were abducted, tortured and sexually abused in Ganda Singh Wala and Hussain Khan Wala villages of Kasur district.