1. Dissecting Pakistan’s Problem with Discrimination
  2. Preparing Tweets As Important As Preparing Guns
  3. Using Cricket to Heighten Hate
  4. The Art of Perception Management
  5. India’s Toxic Nationalism with a Runaway Media
  6. India’s Unhinged Media
  7. Khalid Zahid: Transforming Saudi Art
  8. Now Walk the Talk, Imran
  9. Violence against Minorities
  10. Unsheltered
  11. Lumbering Giant with a Midget’s Mentality
  12. How to Encourage Terrorism
  13. Faisalabad in 2028
  14. Mental Illness & the Progress of a Nation
  15. Child Sexual Abuse
  16. Living amongst the clouds : Aalia Bux
  17. Mental health – What soldiers can teach us
  18. Many Cookies still to Crumble
  19. Steering Through Turbulence
  20. ExxonMobil – Close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s
  21. NAYA PAKISTAN?
  22. Making ADR work for Women
  23. Women’s Rights under Family Law
  24. Shutting the Door on Refugees
  25. Water Challenges and Opportunities
  26. In Conversation with Dr. Ghulam Rasul on Hydrology
  27. In Conversation with Shafqat kakakhel: Internal Water Management Practices
  28. Come on Skipper !
  29. GUMM
  30. Annus Horibilis
  31. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  32. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  33. Method in the Madness
  34. Legal System Reforms
  35. Power Over Impulse
  36. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  37. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  38. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  39. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  40. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  41. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  42. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  43. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  44. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  45. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  46. NEWS PICKS
  47. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  48. Fitness with the Mughal
  49. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  50. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  51. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  52. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  53. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  54. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  55. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  56. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  57. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  58. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  59. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  60. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  61. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  62. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  63. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  64. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  65. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  66. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  67. Money for nothing, bits for free
  68. FinTech
  69. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  70. Crisis of Civilization
  71. Child Sexual Abuse
  72. Education is the only Solution
  73. Fit for Purpose
  74. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  75. Mini meringue recipe
  76. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  77. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  78. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  79. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  80. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  81. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  82. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  83. Five major political events of 2017
  84. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  85. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  86. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  87. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  88. What we can learn from Ghalib
  89. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING
Mon, Jun 24, 2019
  1. Dissecting Pakistan’s Problem with Discrimination
  2. Preparing Tweets As Important As Preparing Guns
  3. Using Cricket to Heighten Hate
  4. The Art of Perception Management
  5. India’s Toxic Nationalism with a Runaway Media
  6. India’s Unhinged Media
  7. Khalid Zahid: Transforming Saudi Art
  8. Now Walk the Talk, Imran
  9. Violence against Minorities
  10. Unsheltered
  11. Lumbering Giant with a Midget’s Mentality
  12. How to Encourage Terrorism
  13. Faisalabad in 2028
  14. Mental Illness & the Progress of a Nation
  15. Child Sexual Abuse
  16. Living amongst the clouds : Aalia Bux
  17. Mental health – What soldiers can teach us
  18. Many Cookies still to Crumble
  19. Steering Through Turbulence
  20. ExxonMobil – Close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s
  21. NAYA PAKISTAN?
  22. Making ADR work for Women
  23. Women’s Rights under Family Law
  24. Shutting the Door on Refugees
  25. Water Challenges and Opportunities
  26. In Conversation with Dr. Ghulam Rasul on Hydrology
  27. In Conversation with Shafqat kakakhel: Internal Water Management Practices
  28. Come on Skipper !
  29. GUMM
  30. Annus Horibilis
  31. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  32. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  33. Method in the Madness
  34. Legal System Reforms
  35. Power Over Impulse
  36. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  37. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  38. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  39. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  40. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  41. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  42. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  43. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  44. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  45. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  46. NEWS PICKS
  47. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  48. Fitness with the Mughal
  49. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  50. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  51. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  52. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  53. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  54. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  55. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  56. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  57. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  58. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  59. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  60. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  61. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  62. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  63. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  64. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  65. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  66. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  67. Money for nothing, bits for free
  68. FinTech
  69. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  70. Crisis of Civilization
  71. Child Sexual Abuse
  72. Education is the only Solution
  73. Fit for Purpose
  74. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  75. Mini meringue recipe
  76. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  77. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  78. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  79. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  80. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  81. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  82. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  83. Five major political events of 2017
  84. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  85. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  86. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  87. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  88. What we can learn from Ghalib
  89. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING

The recent horrifying rape and murder case of a seven year old girl, Zainab Ansari, in Kasur, whose body was dumped in a pile of garbage, is not an isolated incident; it has in fact highlighted the plight of countless other children that have been subjected to sexual abuse. According to Sahil, a non-governmental organization working on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, an average of 11 cases of abuse are reported from across the country on a daily basis. A total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from different parts of the country only in the first six months of 2017, according to the latest numbers released by Sahil. In Kasur alone, the rape and murder of 12 minor girls has been reported in the last twelve months. Police identified a gang of child sex abusers in the same district in August 2015, who were behind a massive child abuse and extortion scandal, involving at least 280 children who were filmed while being sexually abused by a gang of men. The children’s families were blackmailed into silence by the same men, by threatening to release the videos if they spoke up.

This rape and brutal murder of young Zainab has jolted the country. People across various sections of the society have not only condemned the heinous crime, but they have also demanded to bring the culprits to justice in a manner that effectively discourages the repetition of the crime. However, it has yet to be seen as to how far the present discourse goes to provide help to the victims of child sexual abuse, and more importantly, its role in establishing an institutional mechanism for child protection. Unfortunately, much of the discussion continues to be marred by victim shaming, incitement to violence, political point scoring and reverting to the traditional conservative values attributed to religiosity for finding a solution to the epidemic of paedophilia in Pakistan. In the emotional frenzy built up by electronic media, there have been loud calls for public execution of the accused persons without realising that such practices can only lead to brutalising an already belligerent society.

Moreover, it is important to understand and recognise the significance of a due process, as there can be no shortcuts to justice; hence the lack of impunity and certainty of punishment is a bigger deterrence than the ferocity of it. A case like Zainab’s, which has resulted in public outrage on a large scale, could be a turning point for a country. For example, when the 2012 gruesome gang rape case of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi took place, the entire country took to the streets, demanding justice for the young woman, which ultimately culminated in some major amendments in the Indian Legal System. Unfortunately in Pakistan, the present debate about child sexual abuse, instead of moving towards any meaningful legal or socio-cultural reform, is getting bogged down in high rhetoric to discredit political foes.

Child sexual abuse is a serious menace that plagues our society, and the culture of impunity, particularly when it comes to the religious right, helps the perpetrators get away with the most brutal and horrendous of crimes. There have been countless cases of rape and abuse by the so-called “faith healers” in Pakistan, and what goes on in mosques and madrassahs is open knowledge, but both the state and society have turned a blind eye towards it, allowing sexual violence against young children to spread. And while cases of brutal murders and rapes of minors are often highlighted, domestic sexual abuse of children, although a taboo subject in the country, is also quite rampant according to rights activists.

Social media and the internet boom has played an important role in bringing such cases to the fore, which were otherwise considered taboo in the past. Particularly, in most of the rural areas of the country, cases of rape and sexual violence against women and children are brushed under the carpet either by force, or by offering a monetary compensation to the victim’s family; consequently, most of the cases go unreported. The fact that in order to seek justice, people have to resort to social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter is quite troublesome and renders the state apparatus quite useless. Public outrage in some instances, which usually culminates in a demand for a brutal punishment, does not help either in terms of addressing the root cause of the issue, or finding a sustainable solution of having access to reasonable justice. Although there is a need to spread awareness and introduce some form of basic sex education through formal and informal means of education, the larger issue remains that providing an accessible framework is a necessity, within which issues of sexual violence can be addressed and legally combatted. Brazen failure of the justice system is evident from two prominent cases in 2015, in Kasur (Punjab) and Nazwakaly, Mingora (Khyber Pukhtunkhwa) where pornography rings were uncovered, the perpetrators arrested, only to be released on bail shortly afterwards (HRCP report).

Although Pakistan has ratified all of the UN Human Rights Conventions – and in October 2017, was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve on the Human Rights Council as of 1 January 2018 – but due to its weak capacity for implementation and giving it low priority, the country has not been able to translate legal safeguards into tangible improvement on the ground. The Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Concluding Observations, acknowledged some of the initiatives taken by the Government despite the challenges that it faces, but also expressed serious concerns with regard to children’s rights, and the prevalence of violence against children. The Government in response highlighted a number of legislative and institutional initiatives taken to improve the rights of children; including recent laws directly aimed at addressing children’s rights like the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act (2015) and the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act (2016) against sexual abuse exploitation, trafficking and child pornography. It is important that Pakistan follows-up on the recommendations presented by the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, addressing the deficiencies identified and strengthening the overall implementation of the relevant treaty obligations.

There is a dire need to acknowledge and address the deep rooted patriarchal structure of our society, and within that context, introduce further reforms, work on the successful and effective implementation of the existing laws, and have a zero tolerance policy towards child sexual abuse, and make it an unacceptable social practice, as opposed to taking punitive measures against the victims. Although some focus has already turned towards the issue of child rights, and there are some laws on the book, but in view of the emergence of widespread evidence about individual and organised crime against children, there is an urgent need for the state and society to revisit all the gamuts of laws, rules and procedures in order to recapture the initiative for fighting crime against children. A strong public and government response can make a big difference in protecting the lives of our children.

By: Zalla Khattak

 

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