Yet another story of a student being molested by a cleric emerges in Rawalpindi. The student in question was 12 years old and this has become a very common story for many students who attend madrassahs. It is yet another call for attention for the government that is nonchalant about how deeply rooted the problem of sexual abuse is in Pakistan. The problem is two pronged. There is clear evidence of madrassah abuse in Pakistan along with evidence of child abuse gangs present across Pakistan. The only prominent action taken was in the case of Zainab in Kasur and ever since then, there has been no update on the legal work being done to improve penalisation and the investigation methods of the police to help put the criminal behind bars as soon as possible.

The fact that child abuse cases are reported every now and then shows that the problem is systemic. Even in the case of the Kasur sex scandal, the victims were not able to get justice because the criminals had the support of several influential people and that creates hindrances in eradicating the problem. In this particular case in Rawalpindi, another influential personality is involved. Clerics are given a lot of respect and privilege in the society, which is clearly being misused in the case. The government should empower the legal system to ensure that there is no privilege before the law.

At the same time, the government also needs to help improve reporting in such cases. The shame and guilt attached with the victim needs to be directed towards the abuser, so that families can confidently approach the authorities. In the cases of Madrassahs, the government needs to invest in developing a feedback mechanism in order to regulate their presence. Many parents send their kids away to Madrassahs for their wellbeing and it is their right to get the services they were promised. Special funds need to be allocated to make these changes and it is certainly one initiative where the help of the public should be requested instead of investing in rhetorical gestures - death penalty for child abusers - that only improve the situation for the case rather than improving the set up for the longer run. Response teams should be made to ensure they can act immediately and forensics should be improved so that DNA testing can be made more feasible.