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After Kasur scandal: The hidden anguish of abused children

Updated Mar 21, 2017 03:15pm

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Children whose families say have been abused, turn their backs to the camera while they are interviewed in their village of Husain Khan Wala, Punjab province, Pakistan August 9, 2015. -REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
Children whose families say have been abused, turn their backs to the camera while they are interviewed in their village of Husain Khan Wala, Punjab province, Pakistan August 9, 2015. -REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

KASUR: Until 2015, teenage boy Dawar’s (name changed) life was a bit normal in their village Hussain Khanwala of Kasur district. He was studying in a vocational training institute, while his family would work on their farm.

Then the media broke the child abuse scandal, and the fact that Dawar was among the sodomized boys, was not a secret anymore. The secret, which earlier only Dawar’s family and the tormentors had shared for almost three years.

The media coverage and ensuing litigation of the scandal has changed the lives of Dawar and his family altogether.

The scandals involved dozens of children of the locality who had been raped and blackmailed by some local youths for years.

Dawar’s family has migrated to Lahore in a rented house where the boy has mostly turned into a virtual recluse.

“We’re always in the fear that our neighbours will come to know about our connections with Hussain Khanwala,” Dawar sighs.

He says soon after the media coverage of the scandal, the villagers and friends would taunt him. Now, the boy with his father visits Kasur courts on hearing.

Other than Dawar’s family, seven other families of the rape complainant children have also left the village for other destinations they do not want to disclose.

Another boy, whose name also appeared on the list of the raped children, says wherever he goes the scandal chases him.

“Since 2015, I’ve never visited my college where I was a second year student then,” he says.

He said society refused to accept him; the college fellows avoided him; the villagers taunted him while some relatives cut off ties with them.

After the scandal came to the limelight, police sprang into action.

Since 2015, the families of the complainant children have been trapped in litigation.

“Litigation has been consuming our resources and time,” said a grey-headed man, whose son had allegedly been raped and blackmailed by the gang from 2013 to 2015.

He said the rapists had earlier taken away their gold ornaments and Rs300,000 through blackmailing. Now, lawyers’ fees and visits to court had put them under financial duress.

Another complainant said he had to leave his job in a Lahore company in 2016 for his colleagues came to know about his haunting past and started making fun of him which often ended in scuffle.

Now, he is doing another job, where his colleagues only know him a resident of Pattoki.

Not only the abused complainants’ families, other villagers also felt the heat of the scandal.

More than 10 families have left the village due to its bad repute, said a shopkeeper of the village market.

“I also want to leave the village but I cant afford,” he said.

This correspondent collected data on the alleged abused boys and found that most of them had left education.

One of the boys is a vendor in a central Punjab city. Earlier, he would run his family’s convenience store in the village after school.

Another boy, who was a grade 9 student in 2015, now bakes breads at a hotel in Raiwind with a new name. The family of a 10-year-old abused boy migrated to Lahore where they work as domestic help.

Of more than a dozen cases registered into the incident, few accused had been convicted, but the abused children and their families have yet to lead a normal life.

A shopkeeper in the village said that Hussain Khanwala used to be a centre of business and civic activities for several surrounding villages but, after the scandal, the village market, consisting of over 200 shops, presents a deserted look.

“It’s not the same lively village anymore,” he said.

Affected families told Dawn that soon after the scandal, several government functionaries and civil society activists had thronged the village promising justice, rehabilitation and future opportunities for the families. “Nothing better happened since the breaking of the scandal. In fact, how the media, government and civil society used the incident for their interest is also a scandal,” said one of the complainant boy’s elder brother.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017

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Comments (27) Closed



Mahtab Rasheed Mar 21, 2017 09:54am

Its Dilemma in our conservative society instead of helping these families this illiterate society is creating problems for them. Sad very very sad.

You can even extract here that government is not even providing them the legal help , they have to arrange lawyer by themselves.

rohit r Mar 21, 2017 11:08am

Very saddening thing...

jA-australia Mar 21, 2017 12:20pm

"how the media, government and civil society used the incident for their interest is also a scandal,”

No further comment.

Jamil Mar 21, 2017 12:47pm

@jA-australia You summed it up the best....

shafiq chughtai Mar 21, 2017 01:19pm

I 've respect and admiration for my country and I do listen to a lot of patriots and journalist who are blinded by the love of our nation to an extent that they fail to identify our weakness as a society.Living in UK, if this would happened here, these families would have support from government and society.I am not someone telling you all is good in UK but we as a society have very little empathy and tolerence.We have deteriorated in all aspects ..... no education, no justice system, and poverty ..... We need to fight against this attitude and I congratulate the author for writing this up.

Saif Zulfiqar Mar 21, 2017 01:24pm

This govetnment has completely failed to protect poor population.

SDA Mar 21, 2017 02:54pm

Very Sad

Farooq Mar 21, 2017 03:21pm

Shame! Govt busy escaping Panama and poor people to struggle for their due rights!

Desi Dimag Mar 21, 2017 03:28pm

@Farooq Shame! Govt busy escaping Panama and poor people to struggle for their due rights!

What government will do in this case, isn't it a people's duty to correct its society and practices?

Blister Mar 21, 2017 03:37pm

This ladies and gentlemen is the character of us Pakistanis. We love to laugh at others miseries. We have no shame making fun of others. But we are still in the delusion that we are the best of muslims.

M.Saeed Mar 21, 2017 03:42pm

It is a well known fact that, almost all unregistered madrassas in the country are dens of child abuses. Once out of such places, the boys become criminals because of their horrible past. They become psycological cases that have no future. And, the Government as well as the political leaders have no concern whatsoever in fighting and eradicating the curse.

ABE Mar 21, 2017 03:47pm

In a culture of feudalism, land-owners, chaudheries, waderas, politically connected, there is no chance of justice for the week and the poor.

Shameful spectacle in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It hardly therefore surprises me that some resort to desperate measures to escape this tyrannical system to seek refuge elsewhere, in the West.

ashar Mar 21, 2017 04:12pm

Wakeup ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan. Where is the tolerance, compassion thrown at us from all the TV and Radio channels every day by the televangelists? Those are also hypocrite.

Engr PSYCHO Mar 21, 2017 04:20pm

@Desi Dimag. For society, it will take decades. For Govt it will take a few days. If they punish these rapists and show them on media, Nothing like this will happen in coming decades.

Alba Mar 21, 2017 04:21pm

No one can hurt a Pakistani like another Pakistanis can. Where's the respect? People who don't respect themselves won't respect you.

ZAIDI / Iqbal HADI Mar 21, 2017 04:29pm

Shafiq Chughtai! By name for sure and may be even by birth you must be Pakistan but being in UK you are full of praise for UK only which I regret. Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait / zaidi4merdiplomat@hotmail.com

BIlal Mar 21, 2017 04:25pm

Tormented must be totally cmpensated. Life is precious and not just preoccupation with the afterlife.

S Khan Mar 21, 2017 04:36pm

Very sad, my heart is bleeding for those young men and the families. Now I will appreciate the courage of the writer to go after the culprits and follow them, photograph them (not facing the wall), humiliate them.

Amir Mar 21, 2017 04:37pm

When the culprits have connection with the police, political parties, and government, do not expect justice for the poor in this nation.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 21, 2017 05:05pm

Bask in sunshine, Dawn!

Pedophelia is a disease.

The society has to know it as such.

The society would then work to contain the disease and would stop blaming the little victims.

The victims grow up strong, get over the trauma, prosper and live healthy lives with the truth.

The culprits live in fear and in disease.

Dawn would inform the society that pedophiles, when caught, always blame their victims.

Thanks.

Faisal Mar 21, 2017 05:27pm

Instead of supporting the victims, our society ridicules them.

salar Mar 21, 2017 05:39pm

@ZAIDI / Iqbal HADI No she's not! Be real! She's only pointing out the obvious and she's right. There's nothing wrong with using the moral capital of another when our own is obviously in a deficit!

Rao Nisar Mar 21, 2017 05:54pm

Very unfortunate - litigation in Pakistan makes the life of oppressed and victims more miserable. The perpetrators are always winner in litigation.

Adnan Liaqat Mar 21, 2017 05:58pm

I have been writing on this topic and soon bring the true facts on record.

asif Mar 21, 2017 06:11pm

The last few sentences sums it up. What a society we have become. Is this the country our elders laid their lives? Every now and than a horrible story breaks in and their seems to be no end to it. This evil I think didn't existed in the most horrible of the places, why it happens here. Have we lost faith on our destiny? Have we forgotten that we have to give answers to our each and every action?

Mohammad Ali bajwa Mar 21, 2017 06:52pm

We need brave judges and prosecutors to speed up and bring the culprits to justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

XYZ Mar 21, 2017 08:24pm

Indeed we live in Pakistan, they don't deserve justice as we are use to it. My words for them will be "justice is to be served".