Pakistan: Pakistan in dire need of enactment of policies and legislation for the protection of children
The National (Catholic) Commission for Justice and Peace strongly condemns the rape and murder of a minor girl Zainab in Kasur that has resulted in anger and grief throughout the country.
Pakistan, once again has failed to protect its children. As per international reports Pakistan is ranked as the 11th country with highest rate of child abuse/ sexual assault with 2500 cases each year and 3rd most dangerous country in the world for women. As per reports 11 cases of child sexual abuse are registered each day. Kasur, adjoining city to the provincial capital of Punjab Province, has become the center of massive child sexual abuse since 2014 and 2015, estimating over 3500 cases of child molestation solely in 2014, of which 67% were reported in rural areas.
On August 8, 2015 Pakistan’s biggest child abuse scandal surfaced in Kasur, in which 25 criminals for 10 years were involved in extreme child abuse and child pornography. As per Child Protection, in 2017 there has been 1764 cases of child abuse across Pakistan and 12 cases of rape and murder of minor girls all aged between 5 to 8 years in Kasur.
Unfortunately, the recent tragic case of Zainab’s kidnapping, rape and murder is one of these 12 cases. Honourable Chief Minister, Honourable Law Minister and Honourable Chief Justice have taken notice of Zainab's case, as a result the police have questioned 272 suspects for this case and also came to conclusion of involvement of a probe serial killer. However the commission would like to plead the competent authorities to take under consideration all the other cases related to child abuse and bring perpetrators to exemplary justice.
His Excellency Archbishop Dr. Joseph Arshad, Chairperson NCJP, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani), National Director NCJP and Mr. Cecil S. Chaudhry Executive Director NCJP in a joint statement strongly condemned the horrific incident. While praying for the soul of the deceased, her family and other victims, Archbishop Arshad said that the whole nation weeps for this sin. It is a sin that shames us. Let us find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated. The Commission strongly demanded that the government of Punjab take strict action against the perpetrators. The following demands are being presented to the Government for the protection of children;
- On immediate basis Child Protection Bureau should be active at district level throughout Pakistan. Their role and responsibility, function and quality needs to be redefined in light with the protection and promotion of the children.
- The police should be sensitized over the issues related to protection of children. Cases of missing children and abduction of children should be given a priority by law enforcement agencies.
- The local police officers, political leaders and other government officials should be discharged from their duty for not cooperating with the family of the victim and strict actions should be taken against them.
- The government should form a judicial commission to develop legislations to address the issue of child abuse and child pornography as per article 10 of the constitution of Pakistan and under the criminal procedure court and in accordance with articles 34 and 35 of CRC.
Children are the future of our nation; in order to protect them the government needs to ensure its social, moral and international commitments towards child rights/CRC (convention on the Rights of the Child). We hope that the government will seriously address the demands and work for the protection and security of the all children throughout Pakistan.