Are Our Children Safe?

Are Our Children Safe?
One hears about a child being raped and then murdered in Pakistan quite frequently now. While the rape of the grown-ups is criminal, that of the minors is animalistic, horrible, and requiring the severest punishment. However, both kinds of rape have become normal in Pakistan and are on the rise.

In a grisly rape incident in Karachi, a minor girl of 6-years was raped and after finishing the sadistic act the rapists ended her life. What could be more heart-wrenching than this? While the rape of the grown-up individuals is unpardonable, that of the minors with the accompanying murder of the victim shakes the very foundations of our moral system. What is even more distressing is that when the relatives of the victim protest, are the law enforcers seen promising to bring the culprits to justice. This means that if the family of the Karachi rape victim hadn’t protested the case would never have been heard by the authorities and silence would have prevailed.

Moreover, this isn’t the only rape incident of a minor girl in Pakistan but quite many such incidents have occurred over the past few years that one cannot even count. In addition to the rape of minor girls, minor boys are also sexually abused in Pakistan. There is another dimension to the issue as well, which is that while some cases surface many cases don’t even make it to the mainstream and are never heard of.

According to a news report, Pakistan is one of the leading countries with child sexual abuse (CSA) in the world where around 550,000 (0.55 million) children, both boys and girls, are annually raped, but hardly a few hundred cases of sexual abuse come to the surface. These figures show the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately, this kind of bestial paedophilia is on the rise in Pakistan even when there are examples of numerous minors getting raped and then killed and while the society’s awareness about the issue is complete. It seems the child molesters and sexual predators have been left undeterred and unmoved by the short-term activism of the civil society and the government’s disinterest in the issue.

A couple of years ago it was the rape of a minor girl, Zainab Ansari, that shook the collective conscience of the nation. Soon after the incident, the law-making bodies came up with the Zainab Response and Alert Bill.  Also, the rapist was sentenced to death. However, this kind of attention was to prove short lived as the shame and horror filled conscience of the nation soon inflated and more cases of sadistic child rapes started emerging.

It is painful to say, but child protection in Pakistan is unavailable and minors are at a greater of risk of being sexually abused. Successive governments have failed to come up with a viable to solution this issue. An implementable protection bill would have worked well, however, no government considered this issue of any importance at all and therefore no durable legislation came in. This negligence of the authorities has brought the country to this pass where children are at the mercy of the sadistic tastes and desires of the perverted grown-ups.

To prevent this crisis from acquiring colossal proportions, the current government needs to prioritise this issue over everything else for now as the issue requires immediate attention. The gravity of the situation cannot be stressed any further as the child rape cases are piling up and there is nothing that could deter the prospective rapists from becoming involved in cases of sexual violence against minors.

If the government finds itself unable to stymie the increase in rape of minors in the country, it can at least reach out to the regional and international community and ask for help. The world would be eager to help Pakistan in this regard, only if the current government showed any interest. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any real progress on this matter.



Osama Ahmad is an Islamabad-based freelance journalist and researcher. He writes about
democracy, human rights, regional security, geopolitics, organized crime, technology, gender
disparities, political violence, militancy, conflict and post-conflict, climate change, and ethnic
nationalism. His works have been published by The New Humanitarian, The Jamestown
Foundation, The Contrapuntal, FairPlanet, South Asian Voices, The Express Tribune, and
The News on Sunday. He tweets at @OsamaAhmad432.