When there is crime in society, there is no justice. Plato Kasur has been in media highlights for almost three weeks because of horrifying news. Seven-year-old Zainab was raped and murdered cold bloodedly and her dead body was hurled over a heap of garbage. After two weeks constant effort, the Punjab Government caught the suspect, Imran Ali, who is also believed to be responsible for the assault and murder of other young children. DNA test results can become irrefutable proof that connects him to the horrific crimes he is accused of having committed. Now it is time for justice to take its course.

These dreadful incidents spark anger among people. This time there was much backlash from civil society because Zainab was a little girl who lost her life after facing extreme brutality, secondly in short span of time almost 12 such cases were reported and majority of them were girls. All these cases were reported in the jurisdiction of three police stations. It means that the crime had actually never stopped in this district and higher authorities including police never took it serious. This time people were so much annoyed that the authorities had to take it seriously. Had they brought the gang in Kasur sex scandal brought to justice and awarded public punishment, the consequences would have been different.

Happening of one sort of crime again and again makes us realise that we as a nation standing at the same juncture where we have lot of proofs but also lack of action to eradicate such evils in the society. The body of this little girl was found in garbage is a huge question mark on the laws in our society and their implementation. Especially when Kasur is the exact same place where child sexual abuse scandal surfaced in the past and caused an outraged among the masses.

There are many reasons that why these events are happening again and again. We are a conservative society and of us don’t muster up the courage to report such cases to the police or speak out against abuse. There is a dominant social behaviour of staying mum on such kind of issues. Stay mum, because the society won’t accept them or consider them ‘normal’. People also believe that they will not get justice if they speak about it, rather it will bring disrespect from society and bad name among their near and dear ones.

Another main reason is that many culprits involved in such heinous crimes are caught by police, but due to our poor judicial system, these offenders get bail. The weak criminal justice system has increased insecurity among people. Judiciary is a very important pillar of society, and therefore, it is a huge responsibility for them as well to swiftly look and respond to these criminal cases, and must not easily let them go. It takes a mammoth effort to capture criminals but it takes a second to set them free. 

A number of children face abuse every day and no one notices. Many cases are never reported. Almost each day, as we go through the papers, we find horrific cases, many buried among inconsequential news as if the rape or even the murder of a child were a non-event. Society should realise that child abuse, especially sexual abuse, affects the victims’ self-esteem, confidence and also their future prospects, i.e. family and marital affairs. 

In our country the initial response from public comes against state and its callous and indifferent attitude to its duty to protect citizens. Criminal investigations are not of a standard that can lead to prosecutions and can become deterrence in future. Riots broke out in Kasur as a result of the incident but protestors received gunshots instead of justice. This is how our state treats people seeking justice. This is one of the reasons after the accused is being nabbed; a demand of public execution of the alleged serial killer is made by vast majority. Such demands from civil society shows that people don’t believe the justice systems and fear that the criminal may find some way out.

It is high time that we unite and urge our institutions to take strict legal measures. Our criminal justice system must be overhauled and reformed to serve the people. Public wants to see the culprit getting their due punishment for such heinous crime. It will not only relieve the heart ache that every Pakistani is going through but it will also set an example for these fearless perpetrators. Such criminals who live amongst us should no longer be able to freely walk the streets. But all this doesn’t mean that criminals are punished according to the emotions of the people; rather all aspects of the investigation should be conducted professionally and with scrupulous adherence to the rules and laid down procedure. People want justice for Zainab and for all those victims who are reported after her tragedy. People want justice for every child that had to go through the same and the Kasur tragedy can become a watershed moment for this.


The author is based in Lahore