The arrest of a Paedophile linked to global porn ring and his confessions have once again jolted the society’s consciousness. His story is a horrendous one. As if assaulting minors was not enough, we are told that the arrested person, Sohail Ayaz, was a consultant with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as well. Unfortunately, the government does not check the criminal record of its employees and consultant while hiring them.

The normal practice of hiring requires a mere confirmation from the employees whether they were involved in any crime in the past or not. And that’s it. The government does not bother to check the criminal record of any of its employee. This is not just limited to KP, by the way. Relying on the words of the employees is the norm across the country. But one hopes that the government will now take concrete steps to avoid any such occurrence in future. That much said it is essential to say a few words on the prevalent child abuse in our society. Despite the much hue and cry after Zainab’s murder, the society has not moved an inch in making the environment safe for its children. The case of Sohail Ayaz where the neighbours came forward to tell about his suspicious activities only after his arrest is a testimony to the argument made above.

Repeating the numbers for 2018 annual report of Sahil, an organisation that works on security and protection of children from sexual abuse, “at least ten children are abused daily in Pakistan.” Ten children daily! Even such a high number of abuses is not enough to awaken the government from its slumber. This is shameful.

Nevertheless, the latest arrest tells us that both crime prevention and social protection mechanisms have failed in protecting children from sexual abuse. In Pakistan, reliance is on short-term measures like punishing one or two culprits. However, such short-term solutions are not enough to curb the widespread issue of child abuse.

There is no simple way forward to curb this menace. The solution needs to be multi-pronged. First, the state must come up with legislation having no loopholes. Second, there is an urgent need of initiating a public dialogue against the issue at hands. Third, national curriculum needs to be redesigned to better educate children about the issue and its various forms. This way, the society and state by pointing out the fault lines and working together can fix the problem of child abuse.