Zainab’s incident has shaken the foundations of the society. In various cities of Pakistan people protested against the brutal murder of Zainab who was kidnapped, raped and killed in Kasur while her parents were away for Umrah in Saudi Arabia.  

The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF) held a protest on Liberty roundabout to condemn the incident and stood up against sexual abuse. CICF demanded that the perpetrator of this heinous crime be brought to justice at the earliest.

The rally was attend by a large number of people from all walks of life; the protesters emphasized the need for concrete and effective measures to be taken to eradicate this menace of child sexual abuse from our society.

Speaking on the occasion Michelle Chaudhry President of CICF said “Pakistan has once again failed to protect its children; we are beyond horrified by this brutal incident; this is not the first time that such a horrific act of violence has occurred; we continue to demand of the Government to ensure the safety and protection of our children. It is pivotal for the authorities to create effective child protection policies that would safeguard and protect every single child across the country.”

Demanding accountability Michelle Chaudhry said “these crimes cannot go unpunished anymore; this environment of Impunity has to end. Accountability is essential; those responsible for such heinous crimes must be punished without delay in order to prevent such incidents from recurring. NO ONE who rapes and kills our children can go unpunished.”

During the protest kids could be seen holding placards with questions like “Am I next,” Iam weak, but the law should be powerful.” One parent while speaking to The Nation said, “It’s time to protect our children and educate them about good touch and bad touch. We do not trust our state anymore. Public is hardly provided with justice in such cases.”

The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation also put forward demands to the government:

1.      Strengthening of the Child Protection Bureau; it should be empowered to effectively perform its duties diligently across the country at every level.

2.      The Government must recognize the need for separate legislation for minors ravaged mercilessly by abuse and rape. A judicial commission should be established to develop legislations to address the issue of child abuse and child pornography.

3.      Setting up of rehabilitation centers at all Government hospitals to counsel sexually abused children and their parents.

4.      To make it mandatory for all government, private and madrassa schools across the country to create and implement child sexual abuse awareness programs to educate children on sexual violence and abuse.

5.      Provision of a horizontal justice system which facilitates the complainant instead of digressing to favor the perpetrator; Special Police Complaint Cells to be set up at the lowest level of governance for this purpose.

The government of Pakistan must fulfil its international commitments towards child rights; Pakistan signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and the state is obligated under UNCRC to take all legislative, administrative and other policy measures to address issues such as these.

“We at The CICF stand committed towards creating a terror-free society, where every child is safe and protected; where childhood is allowed to evolve into progressive adulthood.” Michelle Chaudhry added.

The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF) is an independent, non-government, non-profit organization, dedicated to the eradication of injustice in society by advocating on behalf of the under-privileged, under represented and marginalized groups within Pakistan.