Protect children from abuse

INCREASING number of child abuse cases is a black stigma on a Muslim society like Pakistan and this mindset should put our heads down in utter shame, embarrassment for doing nothing at all to protect the young innocent souls from becoming the victim of sexual brutality. The very incident of Zainab is still fresh in our minds.
Sahil, an NGO working for protection of children against sexual violence, in its latest report released the other day stated that child abuse incidents in the country have increased from 9 cases per day in 2017 to 12 cases per day. It is pertinent to note that all such cases are those reported in newspapers. Keeping in mind that open discussion on abuse is still a taboo in many homes, it is safe to assume that many cases might have gone unreported. But publishing reports with regular intervals by Sahil on the matter is very significant in the sense that these help not only to highlight the gravity of the situation but also shake the relevant authorities to come out of deep slumber and fulfil their obligations towards protection of children.
Surge in the number of child sexual abuse cases clearly reflects that successive governments failed to come up with any effective mechanism to protect the children who are the future of this country. The situation indeed warrants urgent action and one expects that while new government stands installed, it will undertake the requisite legislative as well as other steps to save the children from the brutality of beasts who indeed deserve no other punishment except public hanging and that too through a speedy trial so that no other could dare to resort to such detestable acts in future. There appears to be seriousness of the present government on the matter as Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the nation also talked about the matter and promised to curb such horrific incidents.
For this, the PM will also require the cooperation of all provincial governments and indeed other segments of the society as well. Firstly, the new government should immediately notify the constitution of National Commission on Children Rights Protection that is long overdue. This Commission should also include members from organisations such as Sahil that has a proven track record of providing legal assistance to such victims. New Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari is very vocal on such matters and one expects that she will take up the matter seriously by taking some practical steps on the ground to put an end to this curse. Besides necessary legislation that envisages strict punishment for the abusers, there is also need to create awareness amongst the parents and the children through media, school curriculum and mental training as to how to protect the children from exploitation and molestation. Pornography through Internet and other sources such as mobile phones and Internet cafes plays a major role in sullying this situation and this warrants strict monitoring. The government should also invest in sports and extracurricular activities to promote more positivism. In case any incident occurs, this should not be concealed but legal course should be adopted immediately so that culprit could not do any harm to other children. Zainab incident might not have happened if the perpetrator was nabbed and punished soon after the first case.

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