As parents worry how to keep their kids safe from strangers, dangers to their children from within families also emerged on Saturday after a six-year-old girl in Orangi was reportedly raped by her cousin.
The girl, J*, was found bleeding on the rooftop of a dispensary. Although in a critical state, J told the police that her cousin and also neighbour, Ashraf, was the one who had taken her away.
The police arrested the suspect who had joined the family in searching for the girl, SHO Amjad Kiyani told The Express Tribune. The minor girl was said to be in a critical condition and was undergoing an operation at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre at the time this report was filed.
Another girl, seven-year old A*, was allegedly raped by a young man in Kotri, Jamshoro on Friday evening. The doctors at the Kotri taluka hospital also confirmed the sexual assault in their initial report.
According to the girl’s father, his daughter was returning from tuition in the evening when the accused, Waqas Arain, abducted her. “He took her to his house to disgrace her,” he said, claiming that Arain’s neighbours heard voices of a child crying. “She was brought to our home in an unconscious state.”
Dr Rukhsana Shaikh, who examined the child and issued the medical certificate, said that A’s condition suggested that she was raped. “She is being treated and we hope that she will be fine in a day or two,” she said, adding that the girl’s sample have been sent to the official chemical examiner in Karachi for conclusive findings about the rape.
The incident took place in Ghausia Colony in the limits of the Kotri police station. The police took a day to gear into action and that too when the family and civil society representatives protested. “The police was even not registering an FIR until we held the protest and pressured the SSP,” said Kashif Bajeer, National Manager of Society for Protection of Rights of Children.
The enraged family and neighbours caught the suspect’s father on Friday night and beat him up before handing him over to the police. According SHO Nazim Rao, the rape suspect Waqas Arain was arrested on Saturday afternoon.
A case nominating Waqas has been registered under sections 375 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the A’s father.
The child rights activist pointed to the absence of child protection laws and a low degree of conviction in cases of child abuse as one of the main causes behind the rising number of such cases. “The government has yet to approve the child protection authority’s bill. In absence of the child protection unit, there is no official department except the police who can help victims,” said Bajeer.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has taken notice of the case of sexual abuse in Kotri. He directed the Hyderabad Deputy Inspector General to take strict action against the suspects of the crime.
*Names changed to protect privacy of individuals
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2013.
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