I know some won’t like what i have to say but what must be said must be said. There is a major problem of child sexual abuse and pedophilia within Pakistani society. We have all heard of ‘Bacha Bazi’ and other similar backwards practices that are not only contrary to Islamic teachings but also against all human decency. Any normal person would oppose this type of behavior. But unfortunately these practices are not at all uncommon in Pakistan, though many would like to pretend otherwise.
The body of the victim, who is being named as Asma, was found in a sugarcane field on Sunday in the Jandarpar Gujjar Garhi district of Mardan city, a day after she went missing.
“I have seen the autopsy report of Asma and it clearly says that she was raped before being strangled to death,” district mayor Himayatullah Mayar told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
“She comes from a very poor family, her father is a labour worker in Saudi Arabia. Asma was just playing outside of her house when she was kidnapped.”
The case of Asma (4), the girl who’s body was discovered in a sugarcane field after she had been strangled, even raped according to the autopsy, comes only days after the case of Zainab Ansari (6), another girl who suffered and died under similar circumstances, triggered a nation-wide uproar in the form of mass demonstrations in the major cities as well as social media coverage compelling government officials to prioritize the search for the culprit(s) responsible for the horrendous crime.
But this begs the question: would Pakistani authorities have reacted this way had the people not rose up in a national uproar? Because surely the case of Asma and Zainab could not have been the only two such cases in a country of 200 million where the lack of faith in the government & law enforcement to act is common but not at all unfounded.
In the first half of 2017, at least 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported across Pakistan, according to the non-profit Sahil child protection organisation. At least 65 percent of those occurred in Punjab province, where Kasur is situated.
But these are only the cases of child abuse which were reported. It is not incorrect to assume that the great majority of these cases are never reported for various reasons, including the distrust of the law enforcement to act and governmental incompetency. There are very few organizations that look to address and report on such cases but very few people even know they exist or how to contact them.
The issue of child abuse deserves more national attention. That it took up till now after the case of Asma and Zainab to bring this dirty laundry to limelight is indeed extremely regretful. Hopefully we as a nation have learned a lesson, though indeed at a terrible cost, that when it comes to the abuse of children or anyone for that matter, such topics should never be brushed under the rug out of unfounded fears and misconceptions.