Yet another case of sexual abuse against minors, attending tuition on private property, was reported in Khairpur this week. It reinforces the horrifying nature of child abuse and forces the country to come to grips with the fact that such delinquencies are common, underreported and neglected by protection laws. Awareness programmes for the public are needed just as much as swift and timely action against such incidents.

The abuse in this case and releasing it on social media is detrimental for the psychological wellbeing of the child as he grows up, and also reflects Pakistan’s poor protection laws that allowed for the video to circulate. Perhaps the only positive that came out of this was the enormous pressure to hold the suspect, Sarang Shar, accountable which led to four FIRs being registered against him with his eventual arrest a day later.

Outside of the horrendous abuse of 132 children, Shar also has an extensive criminal record revolving around murder charges, highway robbery and vehicle snatching. For such an individual to be able to set up a tuition centre and become head of a government school teacher’s organisation is astonishing. Extensive background checks should be carried out before hiring instructors in light of the frequency with which such crimes are committed and how power is being misused.

The Zainab Alert and Response and Recovery Bill is one example of a solution that the government has incorporated into the system recently. However, the mindset that enables such behaviour is what needs to be tackled if we are to put a stop to the exploitation of children. Awareness campaigns that inform the people, reinforce the rights of children and highlight how atrocious it is to target a defenceless minor is the only solution that will tackle the root of the problem.