LAHORE: Kasur —the city mostly known and visited for the shrine of Baba Bulleh Shah — has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since January 2017.
In the year between the gang rape of a Christian woman and the murder of seven-year-old Zainab, there have been at least 12 cases of sexual assault in the city.
Parents are now scared for the safety and wellbeing of their sons and daughters who themselves are hesitant to step out of the house.
A hairdresser, Muhammad Mustafa, whose six-year-old daughter was among those abducted, raped and killed about six months ago, told The Express Tribune said that children are terrified of stepping out of their houses to go to school or playgrounds. He added that residents are now eyeing at each other with suspicion.
“Since my daughter was kidnapped and killed, we moved to another part of the city. We never looked back to the house. My mother has lost her eyesight because of the tears she continues to shed.” Fatima was kidnapped, raped and murdered in the same manner Zainab was killed a week ago. Mustafa believed the area from where his daughter was kidnapped was 40 steps away from his house. She was abducted when she left the house to buy milk. “We found her body from an under construction building just 300 metres away from our house. The milk bag was lying behind her body.”
Similarly, Muhammad Asif, who works as a vegetable trader at the Kasur vegetable market and lives in a posh locality of Kasur, said that his six-year-old daughter Ayesha was kidnapped, raped and killed over a year ago. The incident has ruined the family’s life. “My wife, my two other daughters and I had several sleepless nights. In fact, we never sleep easy.”
He said that he often thinks of when he will see the day of his daughter’s killer will be arrested.
He said that he thought all the time when his daughter’s killer would be arrested. “It’s a pity that the police haven’t taken any serious action as yet,” he said. “I don’t know how many minor girls will fall victim to this mentally sick man.”
The city first caught the wind of the child abuse cases in Hussain Khanwala village after videos of victims were made public in 2015.
A teenage boy, who was raped in Hussain Khanwala village in Kasur district in 2015, told The Express Tribune that the incident had ruined his life. “I could not complete my education and left my job. Police officials call me all the time to help them identify the culprits. Also, whenever I visit any public place, people look down on me and taunt me.”
He said that Kasur is the pure land of Baba Bulleh Shah and he would not forgive that paedophile ruined its sanctity. “We, as victims of rape and abuse, only demand that government officials and law enforcement agencies arrest the suspects as soon as possible so that the children of the city live with peace of mind and regain their confidence.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2018.