As protests erupt around the country to demand justice for little Zainab, the reaction of the public is understandable – the crime is gruesome and not the first one of its kind. What has added to that outrage is the behaviour of government members and officials, whose first instinct was to deflect responsibility and downplay the incident instead of taking responsibility. The callous and dismissive statements by some government members need to be condemned. However, the opposition – supposedly calling out this negligence – hasn’t been responsible or sensitive either.

Rana Sanaullah was the first to respond and the first to do it without any sense of responsibility as the Law Minister – by suggesting the parents were partially to blame for being inattentive. Why in the world are the citizens of Pakistan then paying taxes to the government if they cannot perform their basic function? After a long time, an incident has been so powerful that people have spontaneously taken to the streets. Painting the protests as an exaggeration of the media, according to State Minister Talal Chaudhry, is a gross denial of what is actually happening on ground. Who in this situation is then going to take responsibility and push towards the justice if the problem is not even acknowledged?

While we are condemning those deflecting responsibility, we should also commend those taking responsibility for the incident. However, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif – who took “strict notice” of the incident and formed and investigative team – has an abysmal record in delivering on these grand promises. History repeating itself; similar investigative teams were formed at the time of the Kasur incident and the families are still desperately waiting for justice.

The opposition hasn’t fared any better. They portray themselves as the representatives of those oppressed by the system but that is only limited to political point scoring. We will witness media addresses and rallies and scores of accusations on those in the ruling party but then no one ensures that the case is solved and the families get justice. The Kasur incident was forgotten by everyone – including the opposition, which was busy filling tit-for-tat petitions against political opponents instead of following up on the scandal.

This is a huge question mark on the priorities of the authorities and their will to actually solve the everyday problems of the people of the country, instead of just discussing issues to appease their voters. Child abuse is an actual issue and it is about time these lawmakers get around to implementing the laws they so diligently devise.