KARACHI - The Home-Based Women Workers Federation staged a protest demonstration against the inhuman incident of rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the Kasur District of Punjab, here on Saturday.

The rally was staged outside the Karachi Press Club. HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan led the rally and scores of people belonging to different walks of life, including home-based women workers, attended it.

The speakers said that the Kasur incident was continuity of exploitation that women and children have been suffering for long. “Neither the state nor the society played its role seriously to end the abuse. Now it has become a custom that after such an incident, the government seems shaking a system for a while but in vain. This depicts that our law, constitution, security institutions and social norms have failed in protecting children. The society out of its hypocrisy and so-called beliefs is still deliberately not acknowledging the cancer that has been affecting women and children’ lives and subsequently failed in protecting them,” a speaker said.

The speakers said that sexual assaults and unwanted advances had ruined many lives. Today the chief justice, chief minister and other heads of the administrative and political institutions seem to be taking emergency measures. This implies that they have failed in coming up with a comprehensive policy to end the abuse in society. Should the political parties trying to champion the campaign on Kasur incident have raised voice against the burial of five women alive in Balochistan, murder of Tania Khaskheli in Dadu, naked parade of a girl in Dera Ismail Khan and other similar cases, the situation could have been different and the incident may have been averted.

They said the incidents call for justice and taking the culprits to task and point out to repeated condemnable failures of the state institutions responsible for providing justice and security and maintaining law and order.

The protesters demanded justice for the Kasur girl and others who fell prey to sexual predators in the society and insisted that programs and debates on the issue should be held in media and educational institutions.

They added that the dictatorial moves to provide religious cover to the feudal system must end. Biased and discriminatory laws against women, jirgas, tribal and feudalistic customs should end, the educational institutions should include sexual harassment topics in their curriculum. A child protection bureau should be established in every district and strict laws should be made against the sexual harassment and they should be implemented.

Those who spoke at the rally were HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan, Saira Feroz, Shabnam Azam, Aini Ayub, National Trade Union Federation deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor and others.