Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan suspended heads of two police stations of the federal capital on Saturday; one for registering a case against a three-year-old child, and the other for giving false information about arrests of civil society activists. The case of the child criminal exposes the extreme illiteracy and barbarity in the ranks of the police.

The criminal justice system is quite unfriendly to child rights. This is not the first time a minor has been booked for a criminal offence. In April 2014, Pakistan made international headlines, when a nine-month-old baby had an FIR registered against him. According to the FIR, the child and a co-accused tried to kill gas company workers and policemen accompanying them by throwing stones. Once the situation was exposed to the media, the family of the child was harassed by the police to the extent that they had to go into hiding.

Lets not forget that the mind-set of the men who work in the police is not isolated from the general population. In July 2014, three female members of the Ahmadi community, including a seven year old girl and a baby, were killed by an angry mob in Gujranwala. For a people who can kill children over religious squabbles, booking them for crimes is no large feat. In 2012, an 11-year-old Christian girl suffering from Down’s Syndrome was arrested on blasphemy charges. The Kasur Scandal should have been the final straw, where the police should have been drastically reformed and rehabilitated.

Children, it seems, aren’t safe anywhere. We are a violent nation and the newest victims are our children- in all areas; terrorism, in the hands of the police, in terms of sexual and physical abuses, in forced marriages and conversions, in bonded labour… and the list goes on. As these issues have not been reported on or investigated in the past, we have assumed that child abuse in on the rise and is a new phenomenon. However, the moral crisis of the nation is much older and so is our history of child abuse.

The silver lining on this black cloud is that the media has woken up to the issue. These cases and incidents are not so easy to hide anymore. However, the media is only there to provide information; it is the job of the government, specifically the police, to bring the culprits to justice - the right culprits, not tiny pacifier-chewing felons.