The prime perpetrator has been arrested but his accomplices are still at large.
The children continue to face barbaric acts in every context all over the country as the related laws are not enforced strictly.
By Nazeer Ahmed Arijo
The protection and safety of the ’building blocks’ of the nation called children has become a big question as every day cases of sexual crimes like the sodomy and pedophilia, and subsequent killing of the victims continue unabated in Pakistan. The recent kidnapping, rape and the murder of a student of ninth grade hailing from Noor Muhammad Arija village of Taluka Kingri, district Kairpur Mir’s, does suggest that the Sindh province is no exception. The detail is distressing. The boy was coaxed by the neighbors to participate in a fishing expedition – used as a bait to trap the child for alleged sexual activity. The boy went missing, as a result his parents started search of the missing boy. Some relatives of the victim disclosed to the distressed parents that they had seen the boy going with a mechanic, the neighbor. The parents registered FIR of the kidnapping and accused the neighbor to be behind this crime. The police arrested the accused who in a police statement confessed the crime of having raped and killed the boy in complicit of his cousins. After committing the crime, the body was thrown in the bushes. The police recovered the body with an arm and a leg broken suggesting the victim had offered stiff resistance before being silenced for life by his alleged rapists.
Mostly, the criminals subjecting children to animal-desire called rape choose to kill the prey in order to hide the crime in question. This heart-shaking incident has brought a widespread condemnation from the Arija community as well as from cross sections of the society consequently calling upon the provincial government to drag the criminals involved to the dock.
It is disappointing to note that despite provincial protection laws with regard to protection of children from violence, captivity and sexual activity, the children continue to face barbaric acts in every context all over the country.
Measure the magnitude of sexual atrocities committed against the innocent children: a six -year -old girl was raped and murdered in Karachi’s Korangi area; attempted murder of a disabled minor girl in Okara; girls raped in Dadu and Kambar; a teenage student of seminary raped a seven -year boy in Gujranwala; 13 -year boy was raped and murdered by two teachers of Madrassa in Sehwan; a seminary student was gang-raped by four men in Kasur- the epicenter of child abuse, and two girls kidnapped, molested in a Lahore factory; and a reported rape of a cat in Lahore and of a goat in Okara, demonstrate deep-rooted malaise our society is entrenched.
Subjecting animals to sexual activity transpires that there are countless sick characters, better say, sexually-obsessed to dangerous level.
Around 11 children are sexually abused in the country every day. According to recent annual report 2020 compiled by Sahil organization, published in the Express Tribune, as many as 2,960 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the media from the four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), suggesting a four percent increase compared to 2019. An analysis of the data revealed that in 2020, out of the total reported cases, 985 cases were of sodomy, 787 cases of rape, 89 cases of pornography and child sexual abuse, and 80 cases were reported of murder after child sexual abuse, whereas 834 cases were of abduction.
Sexual abuse against boys is much more common than people believe, according to Development Psychologist Waliyah Mughis of the Agha Khan University. The serious psychological baggage, the psychologist has slated, which is to be borne by those sexually harassed and rape survivors is too cumbersome in later practical life. “Both, female and male survivors would struggle to be believed by others but the taboo surrounding male child victims maybe even higher. Regardless of gender, the harmful effects of sexual violence are the same for males and females: guilt, self-blame, anger, fear, confusion, distrust, difficulty at school and work, difficulty forming and maintaining trusting relationships, increased risk of substance misuse and self-harm,” she said.
As per the sexual crime data elaborated above the 65 percent cases of child abuse were reported from the rural and 35percent from the urban Pakistan. In rural areas, the divide between the parents and the children is wider compared to the urban milieu.
The parents have taken focus away from the children; they do not spend time with their children. The level of intimacy is dismal. Under such circumstances, children are more at liberty in cultivating their social network thus equally more vulnerable to be tucked into a trap of sexual predators that are in plenty in our social setting.
The predators in question first of all, establish a communication with the future victim; then they make advances ultimately culminating in catastrophe.
To move forward:
- A culture of communication should be cultivated in order to ascertain who the child is befriended or acquainted. What do they discuss about? Where do they go for picnic and who are the companions? Children must be taught to inform their parents about their activities and discussions in their social circle?
- They must be taught no to go anywhere with anybody without prior permission of the parents. If one sees his children in the company of strangers, the children must be interrogated for such intimacy with the strangers.
- The child’s going and homecoming needs to be closely monitored. No talk should be replaced with enough talking about both academic activity and social engagement on regular basis. Fostering such a bond brings about healthy relationships ushering in new avenues of family members’ social integration.
- If the child remains aloof or is detached from the family members, parents must take initiative of engaging the isolated in order to bring him / her back to family fold.
- The children are said to be the ’future’ of a family and the country. Both the state and the parents will have to play their due role in terms of making a monitoring mechanism by the parents, and institutional action by the state against the culprits committing crimes against the ‘future’
The Senate Standing Committee on law and Justice has recently cleared the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021 with Amendments, paving the way for death sentence, life imprisonment or chemical castration for those found guilty. Other salient features of bill include constitution of special courts with induction of serving judges instead of retired judges to expedite rape cases. One wonders as to why we always need to constitute new courts when we already have such legal forums available. On the establishment of new courts, senator Mian Raza Rabbani and PMLN’s Azam Nazir Tarar being on the same page conveyed their concerns with PPP senator having maintained that he did not think there was a need for special courts. Tarar noted that many special courts had been set up in the past but the issues remained unresolved. The elephant in the room is the paralysis of police, and its being subject to influence and corrupt practices like bribery, doing wonders, ultimately resulting in delaying justice or ultimate exoneration of unscrupulous characters involved in rape cases. The Lahore High Court Chief Justice, Justice Ali Zia Bajwa is on record as having poured vials of wrath upon Punjab police following their failure to form JITs, and their inability to appoint any gazetted officer as investigation officer in reported cases of rape as per the demand of Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020. The CJ termed the failure to follow the relevant law at such a large scale utter dereliction of duty by the police. Unsurprisingly, the police in response to scathing indictment repeated the routine stuff of having no required funds and technical exercise available etc. Making laws and Amendments is not enough, implementation of the same in true spirit is the fundamental issue in this country, those in corridors of power and authority must ensure its practice beyond the paper. Child bonded labor is unlawful .Yet we see flagrant violation of the said law as we see millions of children bearing the brunt of bondage.
The police are not only corrupt to the core but also a puppet in the hands of both powerful people and those with deep pockets. Until the police reforms, there can be no meaningful progress in the containment of the crime being highlighted. Justice is either delayed or the course of justice is perverted by the police entrusted with the responsibility of investigation and prosecution. The prime perpetrator of Siddique Arijo has been put behind the bars, but his abettors and accomplices are still at large. The aggrieved parents are worried over slackness by police, which is seen as an attempt to save the skin of other offenders involved. The aggrieved parents, and the civil society with shaken conscience, have held public demonstrations demanding of the provincial government to ensure that all those behind the crime are brought to the book without further delay.
Children’s struggle against sexual crimes and other related atrocities will not stop until and unless the laws made are implemented in letter and spirit and institutional soft corner, a product of corrupt practices, is done away with.
Justice demands that main culprit as well as his accomplices are not only caught, but also professionally prosecuted and handed down punishment for their crimes.
[author title=”Nazeer Ahmed Arijo” image=”https://sindhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Nazeer-Ahmed-Arijo-Sindh-Courier.jpg”]Nazeer Ahmed Arijo is an educationist and a freelance contributor. He can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org[/author]