Another innocent seven-year-old girl has been murdered after she was raped in Islamabad on Nov 22. In recent months, a series of child abuse cases have been reported in the capital and its suburbs. According to data compiled by an NGO, 1,300 cases of child abuse have been reported in the first six months of the current year. On an average 12 cases of child abuse are reported every day. A 32 per cent increase in child abuse cases had been registered in the first six months of 2018 over the same period of 2017.
The seven-year-old girl was strangled to death after she was subjected to rape in her home. The girl’s family and the 18-year-old suspected rapist lived in the same house. The police said the suspect got married around two months ago but his wife left him about two weeks ago. The suspect has been arrested.
Only the other day, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court had expressed grave concern over the spike in child abuse cases while taking to task a police official for not pursuing a child abuse case with seriousness. He has made it mandatory for such offences to be investigated only by an officer not below the rank of ASP. A DIG admitted that the case in question was not investigated properly while a lower-level police official had claimed that no incriminating material was found against the accused.
The authorities should tackle the growing problem of child sexual abuse with all seriousness to prevent things from deteriorating any further. The government has no mechanism in place for a database on child sexual abuse. Things should not be left to deteriorate in hopes that with time they will improve themselves. The fundamental thing is to enforce the rule of law, which at present is missing to a great extent. This is evident in all spheres of life.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2019.