Step towards checking child abuse


NATIONAL Assembly on Friday passed with one voice a law that makes it mandatory for police to take action in child abuse cases within two hours of reporting. The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill – named after a seven year old girl who was sexually abused and killed in her hometown of Kasur in 2018, triggering nationwide outrage – also envisages setting up Zainab Alert Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA) where missing child cases will be reported and which will generate an automatic alert.
Our elected representatives really deserve appreciation for showing concern to the issue of child abuse and taking the first practical and major step towards addressing it. However, their responsibility does not end here as they will have to show their commitment to also ensure the implementation of this law in letter and spirit. The very problem in our country is that we often frame laws but they are hardly implemented. One saw the same in the case of the establishment of the National Commission for Protection of Child. It must be ensured that the relevant agency ZARRA is established at the earliest in order to protect our young souls from the beasts who have no regard whatsoever for humanity. Since the scope of this bill is limited to the federal capital territory, therefore, all the political parties must also get the bill passed from the assemblies of other federating units. Incidents of child abuse have become more rampant in our country over the last few years. According to a No- Governmental Organization, Sahil, as many as thirteen hundred children had to face sexual abuse of some sort in the first six months of the last year. A recent incident of chid abuse in Mansehra has once again highlighted the severity of the issue. Thus a holistic approach is required to get rid of this scourge. There is also need to create greater awareness amongst the people at different levels about child abuse. There are often chances that the perpetrator might be a family member and the lack of communication gap between parents and their children and their blind trust for family members contributes to child abuse occurring in this society. Thus, the parents and teachers also need to fulfil their responsibility vis-à-vis protection of the children.