THE sentencing of two perpetrators in last year’s Kasur child sexual abuse case to life imprisonment has set a long-awaited precedent.

Although the sentencing will not bring to a halt the activities of prolific pornography rings operating underground, reportedly with the collusion of a section of law-enforcement officers and political patrons, it has sent a strong message to those who perpetrate such abuse: the state will punish those found guilty.

At the time that the Kasur atrocity came to light, rape and sodomy were legally punishable; however, hundreds of pornographic videos of children had been circulated under the very nose of the district police. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2016, that was passed last month by the Senate, is more specific.

The law criminalises child trafficking and pornography and cites punishment for sexual abusers of children.

The recent conviction is a reminder of the agony of over 280 children, aged between 10 and 15 years, who, for seven long years, were subjected to sexual abuse and videotaped.

They were too afraid to report on their abusers who extorted money from their families, or else sold the video clips.

Even after a crime of this nature, the authorities have yet to set up a national commission on child rights to monitor and coordinate legislative implementation. Being too ill equipped to crack down on abuse of this kind is simply not an option.

If specialised laws fill the statutory books, there is no excuse for not implementing them.

This was one case that mercifully came to light. With the law enforcers unwilling to go after those who sexually abuse young children — sometimes colluding with the perpetrators themselves — the extent of the crime can only be imagined.

How come our usually seething politicians have not worked harder to protect our children after the horrific events at Kasur? Surely, the government must reassess its commitment to the welfare and safety of its young population and focus on a national campaign that advocates for child rights.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2016

Opinion

Between boom and bust
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Between boom and bust

Ultimately the budget, and its aim to pump growth, will be left standing on two legs only — free oil and free dollars from abroad.
Judging without law
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Judging without law

The Supreme Court has yet to formulate a detailed procedure to conduct cases having far-reaching impacts on people’s lives.
Cold war II
23 Jun 2021

Cold war II

China and the West must find a better way.

Editorial

PM on Afghanistan
Updated 24 Jun 2021

PM on Afghanistan

Points raised by PM need to be pondered by all sides — specifically Afghan govt and Taliban — if a civil war is to be avoided.
24 Jun 2021

Third-party interest

WHAT should be done when third-party interest has been created where construction has been done illegally? It is an...
24 Jun 2021

Electricity policy

THE Council of Common Interests has unanimously approved the National Electricity Policy 2021 that will focus on...
PM’s views on rape
Updated 23 Jun 2021

PM’s views on rape

Rape is a crime primarily of power rather than lust, rooted in a contempt for others’ bodily integrity.
23 Jun 2021

Gas concerns

CONSUMERS face the prospect of ominous blackouts next month owing to the closure of two gas fields in Sindh, the ...
23 Jun 2021

New Iranian president

SAYYID Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, is taking over at a time of great geopolitical flux, while the Islamic...