Child Sexual Abuse; A Moral Endemic in Pakistan

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Sher Zada,

The time when the world is under the shadow of devastating recession caused by the COVID-19, that has not only endangered human lives but also damaged the world leading economies i.e. China, United States. While economic losses happened in other countries are yet to be counted. Pakistan a third world country beside COVID-19 is under attack of moral diseases that are increasing day by day. Child sexual abuse and murdering is one of these moral diseases that dry up nerves of a sensible human being. The incidents of murder after rape are very common these days. Although it is certain that such like incidents have had been happened in the past, but luckily or unluckily the society was less informed about those sad happenings. Mediums of information were not that fast as now, very few people had access to television, radio or newspapers, while the rest of the masses were relying on words of mouth. Since social media revolution matters either of joy or grief couldn’t remain untouched. Taking an account of widespread media information Mukhtara Mai‘s t gang rape that happened on June, 2002 was caught massive media coverage and jolted the political spheres in Pakistan, though use of social media was not that much common . International community intervened and advocated Mai’s case, as a result she received worldwide fame and won international award for her brilliantly written book” In the Name of Honor “.The Government of Pakistan awarded Ms. Mai with a sum of 500,000 rupees (4518 U.S. dollars) on 5 July 2002. But the reward didn’t wipe out the dots of slander that were not splashed by her, her 12 years old brother Abdul Shakoor who was allegedly raped by four Mastoi men members of a sub clan of Baloch tribe in tehsil Jatoi district Muzaffargarh southern Punjab, and blamed him for adultery affairs with 20 years old Mastoi girl Nasreen . The Jirga (council) gave decision that a female member of Shakoor’s family will be treated as he was been guilty in illegal affairs with Nasreen. However Mukhatara Mai resisted against the decision of Jirga, she was forcefully raped and was paraded naked in the streets. Nearly after 13 years same conjunction of rape remerged in Pakistan in a new direction this time abduction of children reached at peak. In 2015 a gang responsible for releasing pornography videos full of sexual acts was caught by police from district Kasur Punjab province, police discovered that the gang had made about 400 videos of the abducted children and blackmailed their families aimed at collecting money. On January 4, 2018 same Kasur district witnessed rape and murder of a six years old Zainab Ansari , the cadaver’s parents were on the Umrah in the holy city of Mecca. On the way to madrassa she was kidnapped, raped and murdered by an inhuman character Imran Ali. This time the situations were not the same as past, social media activists started campaign on social media, protests erupted in different parts of the country demanding arrest and punishment of the culprit people took into the streets. On January 11, 2008 the protestors broke into the Kasur police station, two of the protestors were shot dead by the police, later on four policemen were arrested and suspended from their service. Due to massive pressure by the human rights organizations and civil society Punjab police arrested convict Imran Ali , nearly after ten months trial, on October 17,2018 he was hanged to death upon Lahore high court’s decision . But unfortunately the series of insanity did not stop there. On May 20, 2019, 10 years old Farishta Bibi was allegedly raped and found murdered in the federal capital Islamabad. She was missing since May 15 but the police was not ready to cut First Investigation Report (FIR) till May 19, 2019. Although after Zainab murder’s case this time Pakistan’s mainstream media seemed a bit inactive until the international media coverage of the story. However when the matter exposed publically Inspector General of Islamabad police came in action and suspended two policemen upon negligence from their duty and delaying in the provision of justice to victim’s family. The child sexual abuse is not only on feminine side, male children are also been abused and brutally murdered in different parts of the countries. However Punjab province is leading in child sexual abuse cases. Religious seminaries the madrassas are the hotspots of child sexual victimization. The trend of child sexual abuse and murder is increasing day by day. Religious teaching and preaching centers that were previously considered hub building moral character and used to be centers for behavioral therapy, nowadays are suspected sexual trauma centers. Although this trend of child sexual abuse is propagated by several radical separatists groups and concerned people attached with Islamic theology, but the recent cases of child sexual abuse and murder reveals that the reality cannot be ignored that is reviving itself again and again. On April 18, 2020 a recent incident of child sexual abuse occurred in district Pakpattan Punjab province, when an eleven years old student was pushed to washroom by his religious teacher, possibly with rape intentions. The forceful rape and murder of minors turned an endemic situation in Pakistan. Population wise leading province Punjab has had been major witness of this moral endemic. Ironically Pakistan a country with 95 percent Muslim population and strict Islamic ideology is on surge of child sexual abuse. There are some fundamental reasons behind this moral menace. First there is negligence on parent side, they leave their children unnoticed on the mercy of others, for examples children are endorsed to madrassa’s teacher, home tutor or allowed to play with a person older to the age of the child. Second society lacking sex education, thus the children are unaware of what a sexual behavior is. Third poor implementation of legal framework in the cases of child sexual abuse, provide courage to pedophilia criminals to victimize more innocent children without any fear. Although children cannot be stopped from receiving religious education, being a part of belief system and their legitimate right to education. However having know- how of the learning environment is the sacred responsibility of parents to look after their children. Indoor sounds catching CCTV cameras should be installed in madrassas, in the tuition areas either academy or home, to catch upon every moment and conversation between the child and teacher. A child should be taught about sexual behaviors in such a way that his/her psychological boundaries should not be hurt. The teachings should be addressing self-defense rather than stimulating child’s sexual behavior. Laws should be modified and implemented transparently to counter the proliferating trend of child sexual abuse.