We must appreciate those on social media who exposed the shameful incident involving a cleric indulging in sexual abuse of a madrassa student in Lahore. It was reported by the victim, but those responsible opted to ignore and protect the criminal involved. This was an individual act of an evil person, and the institution of madrassa is not involved in this practice. However, silence is a crime and amounts to complicity.
There is total silence on the part of the state, political parties and even the so-called civil society, who had no hesitation in making an issue about the casual remarks by Malala Yousafzai but remain silent on this matter. It is time we recognised that this cancer of abuse and pedophilia exists within a few seminaries and needs to be surgically eradicated. The Church has accepted it after years of denial, because of the nexus of the state and the monarchy in exploiting religion to accentuate their hold on power.
Denial that this exists is criminal. It is perhaps because of the immense political clout that religio-political parties — who became powerful under the Zia regime — enjoy that such instances are hidden from society. The immorality of a few within the clergy has gone unnoticed, just like the irregularities of powerful mafias across the country. Both enjoy the support of those that are in power.
This complicity and exploitation of religion has been going on for decades. On 15 June, 2008 when an 18-year-old girl was subjected to gang rape within the Quaid’s Mausoleum, authorities helped the criminals by declaring that DNA is not acceptable as evidence.
Malik Tariq Ali
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2021.