The recent brutal crimes against children have shaken the whole Pakistan and even civilised societies abroad. Investigations to haul up the culprits are going on, though the culprit has been hauled up in the case of Kasur. More cases are being reported from other parts of the country thus signalling a horrible scenario. These are a few of many such crimes against children in the past in Pakistan. Going back to December 1999, according to a report, a serial killer named Javed Iqbal, a culprit of torturing & killing over 100 children near Ravi Road in Lahore was carrying his brutal activities for years involving sexual assaults and subsequent killings. The criminal used to haunt children around Minar-e–Pakistan & seduce them for his ulterior motives. He had been carrying on his criminal activities in the area over a long time but was unnoticed continuously. However, the criminal was arrested & finally given death sentence.
Likewise, according to a Report, in 2014 in first half of the year, 1786 incidents of torture & sexual harassment were reported. Out of this figure, sixty six percent were girls. Incidents have been occurring in later years also.
Unfortunately effective measures to minimise such heinous crimes against children on long term basis have been missing during the periods of past successive governments. Only some protests or some emotional discussions were made on the media and after some days ‘business as usual’ was seen. After some days, such incidents have been going on. Thus ‘dung tapao’ policies have been followed each time. Let us shun such practice and definite policies followed by action plans & monitoring system would be essential to curb this brutality effectively. Time will not forgive for continued neglect by us as a nation. Strategies would involve legal social, educational and administrative measures to curb crimes against children effectively beyond just lip services. In fact, effective & deterrent punishments in public would minimise such incidents. Absence of ruthless actions has increased such crimes against children.
The developed countries have more shameful record of crimes against children. However, Pakistan is predominantly a muslim society. It will be easier to curb this menace of crimes against children with a strong political will and other administrative legal & social measures essentially to be followed by an action plan & monitoring system. Let us examine these steps in some details.
It is highly imperative that the Pakistan Government & the people of Pakistan make a firm resolve of zero tolerance for crimes against children. This requires a strong political will at the top to achieve this objective followed by an action plan & an effective monitoring system. This needs a package of multiple reforms including the following;
Strengthening the applicable Laws and setting up special courts for speedy trials against the criminals. Punishments of criminals should be widely publicised on the media. Latest Forensic Labs including DNA tests facilities should be set up in all Provinces and the concerned officials should be imparted training on fast track basis.
Training of police & investigation agencies on the use of latest technologies to nab criminals should be organised.
Launching an effective media campaign by the Government is needed to educate parents for their primary obligations for child care & protection. Parents should be guided on the detrimental effects of the social media especially for children. School’s Managements should be bound to hold frequent parents teachers meetings and guide parents on child care and protection. In Pakistan the family system is better than many other countries of the World.
Helplines should be established in case of assaults on children.
In schools, religions education for children should be extensively introduced together with safeguard alerts against criminals.
Porn sites should be blocked on the internet by PEMRA.
The above mentioned measures can go a long way in curbing crimes against children.