Some days we just can’t help but think how depraved and evil people can be. This Ramzan we have already heard the sad tale of 10 year old Farishta, who was raped and killed in Islamabad, which was supposedly one of the most safest cities in Pakistan.
Farishta’s case wasn’t the only one as more and more incidents regarding the rape (and even murder) of children got widely reported in the press. If we thought that the outrage regarding Zainab’s murder in 2018 could have taken care of those monsters in our midst, well think again.
Horrifying as these cases are, it is our lawmakers and law enforcement officials’ apathy that has left us more shocked. Is this the sort of dangerous environment we want to leave behind for our children? After all, the police refused to register an FIR for Farishta’s parents, choosing instead to ask for bribes.
Just to give you a few examples of how deep the rot is, these incidents happened in Ramzan recently:
- The case of Farishta, kidnapped from Shahzad Town and raped, dead body found in the outskirts of Islamabad.
- The case of police officers sexually assaulting a young woman in Bahria Town Phase 8.
- Gang rape and acid attack of a woman in Layyah.
Seeing how uninterested our lawmakers and police have been, its high time that citizens like you and me decide to say that enough is enough.
A couple of upstanding citizens have taken it upon themselves to highlight this worrying trend of child rapes at the national level. They recently held a protest at the Islamabad Press Club to draw attention to those henious crimes.
The people behind this protest ‘Stand Against Rape’, want to know what is being done about these incidents. As per the organizers, this protest is being organized to achieve the following:
- Immediate legal action against perpetrators and constant media coverage of all proceedings taking place.
- Participation of Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.
The protesters want Mrs Mazari to tackle the issue of child rapes and murders on a war footing. They have suggested:
- An update on the legal recourse being taken at the moment against perpetrators.
- The need for legislation against harassment in the current version of the Pakistani constitution,
- Provisions made by the executive branch to enforce them.
- In case of a pardon by the family, the state to represent the victim against the accused in the court of law.
- Amendment of rape laws to ensure protection against all forms of sexual violence that do not fall under the narrow definition of rape in the Pakistan Penal Code. Amendments should additionally be made to ensure that transgender persons are protected under rape laws.
- Gender sensitive trainings for all official branches of the government, specially the police. Training of the police to ensure timely and quality investigation in cases of sexual violence, particularly in terms of collection of evidence, coordination with protection and witness protection. Further, mechanisms for accountability for violence perpetrated by the police, in the form of transparent and independent inquiries.
In order to deter cases of child abuse in the future, the protesters also propose the need for:
- Accountability for police officers failing their duty to act urgently in matters of sexual assault or neglecting their duties during investigation. Furthermore, in cases of violence perpetrated by police officials and staff a strict and independent inquiry needs to take place to ensure that the perpetrators are held to the highest standards of accountability.
- Public Awareness Campaigns regarding the procedure to register an FIR against gendered crimes, and the steps that can be taken in the face of noncooperation by the police.
Last but not the least, there should be:
- Public Awareness Campaigns regarding legislation against gendered crimes.
- Statements of the following MNA’s on recourse being taken place in their constituencies to ensure that these instances do not take place again:
|Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan|
|Bahria Phase 8|
|Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan|
Its high time all concerned parents and citizens join hands together and urge officials to do the job they are supposed to. Our children are our future, and we owe it to them to make the world a better place for the coming generations.
We sincerely hope Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari are listening and contemplating action to combat the growing cases of child rape in the country.