LAHORE - Police investigators have failed to make any breakthrough in the child abduction and murder cases recently reported in Lahore’s Badami Bagh.

Over a half dozen children have been kidnapped from the low-income neighbourhood since June but investigators are unable to trace the whereabouts of the missing children.

Capital city police officer Muhammad Amin Wains yesterday blamed parents, schoolteachers, and the society for not fulfilling their responsibilities. “Over 98 percent children disappear after being admonished by parents. Some of them disappear to flee schooling and the others do so due to bad company,” the city police chief noted.

Wains was addressing a news conference at the city police headquarters yesterday. Lahore’s leading police investigators including Sultan Chaudhry and Hassan Mushtaq were also present on this occasion.

The officer said the police were working “days and nights” and using all available resources to recover missing children. “Lahore police are actively working on these cases and, very soon, the whereabouts of the (missing) children would be traced,” Wains said.

At least five children were abducted by unidentified criminals from the Badami Bagh police precincts during the last couple of weeks. On Friday, one of the victims was found stuffed in a plastic bag from a drain located in the same Badami Bagh locality. The sack-packed body was identified as Muhammad Umair, son of Shabbir Ahmed. Investigators say Umair was sexually assaulted by merciless killers.

Factually, police investigators are groping in the dark since the children went missing from the commercial and densely populated area. The Badami Bagh locality houses truck and bus stands with many strangers including Afghan nationals roaming there. The city’s largest fruits and vegetables market is also located in the same vicinity.

The police registered five separate cases of abductions since June but have failed to trace the whereabouts of four children. So far, the victims are identified by police as 12-year-old Yaseen, 10-year-old Muhammad Umair, eight-year-old Fahad, seven-year-old Sameer and two and a half year old Daim Ali.

City police chief, Amin Wains, told reporters that at least 187 kidnapping cases of children were reported in Lahore this year so far. Out of total 208 missing children, at least 189 had come back home. Some 27 children were handed over to the Child Protection Bureau by the Lahore police. “We could not see any criminal element in 95 percent cases involving missing children,” Wains claimed.

When asked about the mutilated body of a young boy discovered from a Badami Bagh drain last week, the officer said the police would arrest the criminals very soon. However, a police investigator said that no important arrest was made yet in connection with the child abduction and murder cases reported in the recent past in Lahore.

Responding to a question, the CCPO claimed that the child abduction and murder cases are equally important for the Lahore police. “The police are thoroughly investigating all such cases and very soon the good news about the recovery of missing children will be shared with the new media,” he said.

Hundreds of people took to streets Wednesday after another young boy was abducted from Lahore’s Badami Bagh. The latest victim was named by police as Muhammad Yaseen, who went to offer Fajr prayers at a local mosque but did not come back home.

Yaseen, according to police record, is the fifth boy who has been abducted by unknown men from the densely populated locality during the last one month. Shafique Mughal told the police that his 13-year-old son, Yaseen, went to mosque as usual but disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

A good number of locals gathered outside the house of Yaseen in Muhammadia Colony as the news of his abduction spread in the vicinity. They marched towards the Azadi Chowk where they staged a strong protest demonstration against the police.

The protesters blocked the main road by setting tyres on fire and chanted slogans against the city police and the provincial government. The two-hour long protest triggered worst traffic mess in the busy locality as motorists were seen trapped in the traffic jumbles.

The poor families complained that the investigators did not take the abduction cases seriously unless they discovered the dead body of one of the five victims. The protesters demanded that the police and other law enforcement agencies “should do something” to trace their children.

The provincial police in its 2013 report had revealed that the incidents of child abuse were on the rise across the Punjab province. Of 2,576 rape incidents reported in 2013, the victims in 167 cases were children. Last year, the country’s biggest child abuse scandal in Kasur district involving hundreds of children brought international condemnations, urging news laws to protect the children.