We all parents are worried and sad to see the killing of our daughter Zainab. This incident has diluted our faith in our system and we feel sorry that we are living in a society where some do not have human ethics and no respect for human beings. Innocent Zainab lost her life to a merciless “darinda” who killed her for his lust. While committing this heinous crime he had neither fear of God nor of the law of the Land.

The law of the land protects its citizen with the power of fear of action through the force of law; but it seems that law of the land is there but force of law has severally diluted, allowing the criminals to commit worst types of crime without fear. This fear of law stands diluted as the criminals while committing a crime consider themselves to be above the law and feel confident that they will manage to get out of it with the force of their political backing or by influence of their money. Moreover, the conversions of police complaints into cases are not very encouraging and there is hardly a real time conviction and hence there is no deterrent through the force of law.

The data of last few years indicates alarming number of child sex abuse incidents followed by death of several children who were later dumped on the streets and garage piles. The statistics deeply trouble a sane mind and it is so unfortunate to see that these are the circumstances of our beloved country Pakistan.

According to the statistics of a nongovernmental organization a 10% increase in the cases of child abuse is observed in 2017; on average 11 cases of sexual assault against children happen every day. According to the report in the year 2016, almost 100 children were murdered after sexual abuse, while 2410 girls and 1729 boys were sexually abused, making the total number of victims to be 4139. Among major crimes against children reported cases for abduction were 1445, for child rape were 502 and for attempted sexual abuse were 362 cases. The highest number of cases of sexual abuse against children was reported in the province of Punjab, with 2676 cases alone in 2016.

The report also revealed a 19% increase in the abduction cases of children; in 2016, 1654 cases of abduction were reported, whereas in 2015 the rate of abduction crimes was lower, with 1386 cases of abduction all over Pakistan. Owing to the rise in crimes the number of children abducted is reached to 5 per day. In the year 2016, 78% of total cases of sexual assault were reported with the police, while police did file an FIR for 142 cases.

For several years Kasur has been a sanctuary for the criminals and a torture cell for its residents, 720 cases of child abuse in Kasur, similar in nature as to the incident of Zainab have been reported in the last three years alone. In 2015 sexual child abuse photography case was brought to light by the media, and it appeared that a decade long organized crime in Kasur had become a norm, owing to the delay in justice and untimely force of law despite many complaints by the residents, just because the criminals had political backing. 280 children were victimized in this mega child abuse organized crime and 400 sex videos of these children were made by force by a group 25 criminals.

The police was made aware about these incidents by the families time and again, that boys and girls under the age of 15 were raped and filmed to generate money from selling these sex tapes, nationally and abroad. However no timely and substantial action was taken against these criminals for years, why? When the issue became too big to keep quiet the police made it a case of property dispute, while parents of the victimized children were blackmailed either with the help of police or right under their noses by these criminals to pay heavy sums, as the threat of the sex tapes of their children being released in public hung over their heads. Kasur incidents draw a clear picture of how our moral values and enforcement of law has deteriorated. It also shows the failure of our political and religious leadership and of the law enforcement agencies.

The Law again failed to provide justice to the people of Kasur, as Zainab’s case is the 12th of its very nature. In the last 12 months 12 other innocent girls, between the ages of five to eight have been the victims of similar hideous crimes, where they were kidnaped, raped and killed. The other cases were handled poorly by the police of Kasur. Although the six samples of the victims sent for forensics proved that all six girls were raped and killed by the same person, the system failed to catch the culprit.

Reports also suggest that the claim of the police to catch and kill the suspect involved in the crimes against these girls was hallow and fake. Had the incident of innocent Zainab’s murder not been highlighted in the media and had the people of Kasur not stood up against the criminal wave hoovering over their city, it would have been yet another case buried in the pile of hundreds others. The question here is, what is reason behind the delay in justice? Many protests erupted after these rapidly occurring incidents, and despite the assurances of the law enforcement officials, the key culprit is not behind bars and still is a threat to the society.

Why our laws have failed to create a deterrent for criminals and violators? Why the father of young Zainab blames the system for the death of his beloved daughter? Can we stop any other Zainab becoming a victim? These are all important questions that all of us should ask and seek the answers for, because the diluted strength of law is felt at all levels and in laws. Basically “rule of law” has been undermined and it has been politicised and the “rule of law “ should have been there to use a stick for better governance and protection and safety of citizen but here law is made for the rulers to rule with impunity.

The killing of Zainab has not only left the entire nation sad but also has shaken our conscience. She is asking for Justice from all of us. The poor little girl must have cried and begged for her honour and life but the criminal dared to commit this crime fearlessly and shamelessly. We can only stop another Zainabs from becoming yet another victim of these paedophiles if we decide to have rule of law. The present law on child abuse with new added sections like 292A, 292B, 292C, 328A, 377A and B to the PPC 1860 prevents exposure of a child to seduction and creation of child pornography and these acts are punishable by law. But the question remains that despite the laws to regulate societal behaviour, what is our law enforcement agencies like Police doing to stop these filthy criminal?

Today let us make sure that Zainab gets Justice and we should not allow this matter to die or get dilute. Llet us set this president and bring change in law where we need to improve it to protect of our children/ coming generations. Let us pursue the move to get the killer of Zainab behind the bars and also to ensure his public hanging.

 

The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Body on Interior and Narcotics.

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@senrehmanmalik