ISLAMABAD: The three regions of Punjab – Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura and Kasur – have recorded 111 cases of sexual assault against minors in the ongoing year, the highest in the country.
Relatives, neighbours and street vendors were found to be involved in majority of the cases.
The horrific details of sexual assaults against minors were shared by police officers in the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights leaving members in awe. Senator Mohsin Leghari chaired the meeting in place of Senator Nasreen Jalil.
Regional Police Officer (RPO) of Sheikhupura Sahibzada Sultan, representing Punjab Inspector General of Police, also shared startling figures and statistics about the increasing incidents in the three districts and police performance.
“[As many as] 111 cases of sexual assault involving minors have been reported to date that include rape, attempt of rape, sodomy, molestation, and acts of sexual harassment,” he said, adding that the incidents included both girls and boys.
In all these cases, Sultan said, 57 persons had been charged while 24 were being investigated. “Of 135 accused, 115 have been arrested,” he informed the Senate committee.
Sharing further details, the RPO said two boys were sodomised and then murdered in Kasur, adding that all the culprits had been arrested.
He also informed about five cases of rape and murder involving girls.
“Sadly, grandfathers, uncles, teachers and street vendors were found involved in these heinous crimes,” the officer said.
He said accused in four such assaults on minors – three in 2017 and one in 2016 – had yet to be nabbed.
“The modus operandi of these particular cases seemed similar as all minors were raped in under construction buildings and then murdered in the same way,” he said, adding that the police were trying their best to arrest the culprits through technology and human surveillance.
District Police Officer of Kasur Ismail Kharak told the senators that during the last three years, 74 cases of sexual assault involving minors had been reported, of which seven were under investigation while accused in rest of the cases were behind bars.
Kharak said the police had increased patrolling, snap checking and surprise visits arrest the accused and to avert any such cases in the future.
Senator Mir Kabir asked for the reasons behind the hike in such incidents in the area.
Senator Sehar Kamran and Senator Sitara Ayaz asked if the police took any steps to prevent similar incidents.
The officer informed the senators that the police had increased geo-fencing and community interaction to tackle the problem.
The probe report submitted and details of the cases were shared with the committee members. In one of the case, the accused was a neighbour of the complainant and one of the witnesses also saw him accompanying the victim child.
While in another case the accused stayed at the house of the victim as guest and abducted the daughter of the complainant, subjecting her to rape.
In a case, the police were carrying taking the accused with them to recover the earrings of the deceased when his aides attacked the police, and he died on the spot.
Senator Kamran stressed the need for creating awareness about the safety measures for kids and parents while Sultan said the media should highlight the responsibilities of parents and how they could save the minor victims.
The committee decided that the police would update them in one month about the progress of pending cases, and discussed if the members could visit the area.