MULTAN: At least 12,526 children were kidnapped across Punjab in 2016 while in 2017, the rate of sexual abuse increased by 12%. Our children are not safe anymore.
These views were expressed by social worker Zehra Sajjad Zaidi during a session on increasing incidents of rape in South Punjab on Sunday. Civil society members and women rights’ advocates attended the session.
Zehra Zaidi said that the laws needed to be reformed. The government and parents should work together in initiating awareness campaigns. “Parents should keep an eye on their children going to schools, madrassas and tuitions,” she advised.
Similarly, social activist Mukhtar Mai said that in rural areas, landlords supervise the system of villages. “They protect the accused in such incidents but after sometime these are forgotten. The laws should be examined and the accused should be punished,” she emphasised. She added that many children were forced into labour when they become victims of rape and sexual abuse.
Bushra Naqvi, an expert of law, revealed that 84 children had been sexually abused in Multan in one year.
Zahida Khatoon from Pakistan Women Development Foundation said, “South Punjab is a deprived and under developed region. The literacy rate is also very low.”
Social worker Abida Bukhari said that the government had neglected social problems.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2018.
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