By Mujahid Sulaiman
Violence against children is unfortunately a common and rampant phenomenon in Pakistan. It is the crime of harming a child in a physical, sexual or emotional way. In a week two different cases of child sexual assault occurred in
Gilgit-Baltistan including the maga scandal in Sindh’s Khairpur District.
Both in rural and urban areas children are the most vulnerable and marginalized segment of Pakistani society due to a number of factors nevertheless, day by day child-molestation cases are increasing across the length and width of country. Mostly, children from poor family back ground are easily targeted in this regard.
Moreover, in conventional and rigid-cultural societies ’pedophilia’ and ’ephebophilia’ cases are mostly concealed being afraid of social stigma and damage of self-esteem . Thus, predominantly, cases go undocumented and uninvestigated. In this way neither the culprits are legally castigated nor are the victims compensated by any means subsequently, child exploitation has been a conducive culture in Pakistan.
Child abuse is an abominable act that contaminates the legal, moral and ethical face of society. Retrospectively, having a cursory look at the reports of different NGOs and IGOs it reveals that the numbers of child abuse cases has multiplied owing to the negligence of authorities in power and parents lack of care and consciousness.
According to a report from Sahil, an NGO working for children rights there were 2145 cases of child abuse in 2007 compared to 2956 cases reported in 2019. Categorically, 778 abductions, 405 missing children cases, 210 attempted rapes, 205 gang sodomy cases and 115 gang rapes. However, sadly, reports demonstrate that child assault cases have increased drastically in the following years than downsizing.
The causes of ’child abuse’ are complex and interlinked ,and include economic, social and political factors besides psychological problems at the level of individual. Many abusers commit crime to quench their libidinous lust also in many cases for personal revenge. But the contemporary scenario seems quite different whereby; pedophiles work for pornography industry at high cost and provide them pornographic material at the expense of lives and honor of innocent children. In past a series of heinous cases occurred including the murder of zainab and now the khairpur maga scandal. At least police have discovered pictures and videos of every case and also have found some connection with porn industry.
On the other hand, child labor is another problem deteriorating the condition of children rights in the country. Although child labor is outlawed but still thousands of children are engaged in child laboring across the pakistan. People in state of abject poverty are compelled at the hands of harsh circumstances to work at the cost of a few thousands to ease and please the feudal lords and the rich class of society. However, in view of child insecurity and maltreatment with them its dire need of time to break the conventional shackles that poise threats to the child security.
Last but not the least, it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Thus, it is necessary for all and sundry unanimously play their role for the protection of children from evil forces at home, school, streets and anywhere else, in general. In particular, the parents to increase more parental- care, the social activists and NGOs to louder their voices for a safer and violence free environment for children ,and the politicians and law-makers to project practicable policies and enforce laws coupled with an active action plan to nip the evil of child abuse in bud.
The writer is an ex-faculty member Karakrom international university. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org