“Bachon pe jinsi tashadad hye hye,” scores of students, and political and civil society activists shouted at a demonstration held at the Liberty Roundabout on Monday to condemn the child abuse case in Kasur district.
The protest was organised by the Democratic Students Alliance.
Ramis Sohail of the DSA said more than 280 children were sexually abused. He said the government must ensure strict action against those involved in the heinous crime.
The protesters also shouted slogans against the government and the police for being complicit with the culprits and allowing them to perpetrate horror in the area for over a decade. “Zalim ka jo yaar hai ghadar hai ghadar hai,” they shouted.
Sohail said the suspects were still being protected by influential people who were using phrases like “defamation of state” and “national honour” as excuses to bury the issue. He said this was shameful and must be condemned.
Bilal Anwar, a student of Forman Christian College University, said that it was mandatory for the government to fix responsibility for the horrendous act and to bring the culprits to justice. “The way the authorities have tried to cover-up this heinous crime is disgusting.”
Progressive Youth Front leader Ahsan Bhatti demanded that political personalities in Kasur stop protecting the suspects. He said the culprits must be made an example of.
Awami Workers Party general secretary Farooq Tariq said for an independent inquiry of the case to take place, the RPO and the DPO of the area must be sacked and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentarian de-seated. He said political representatives of the area were the real criminals. “They are complicit with the police in quashing the victims’ complaints and should be held accountable.”
Suo motu notice demanded
The Kasur DPO and policemen who failed to take prompt action on complaints filed by victims of sexual abuse must be suspended from service immediately, South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) Executive Director Muhammad Tehseen said at a press conference on Monday.
Speakers at the press conference said abuse of children in Kasur was a failure of state institutions. They demanded that the Supreme Court of Pakistan take suo motu notice and ensure that the culprits be punished according to law.
Tehseen said MPA Malik Ahmed Saeed should also be taken to task for trying to suppress the matter and helping the suspects.
Members of SAP-PK demanded that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should take strict action and have all suspects put behind bars. They said lawmakers from the area should also be removed. “The victims are being threatened. The government must ensure their security.”
Tehseen said there was a failure on the part of political parties, the administration, the civil society and religious parties of the country. “The residents of rural Kasur are living under a shadow of fear.”
HRCP demands thorough probe
In a statement on Monday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed grave concern over the sexual abuse of children in Kasur and demanded prompt investigation, prosecution and effective steps to prevent sexual violence against children.
The statement says there might be ambiguity as to the number of children targeted, the time when the abuse took place, and whether a property dispute was involved. “Yet how that makes the matter any less horrific is lost on us. It is now certain that many children had been abused and their abuse filmed.”
Judicial commissions and inquiries rarely serve the purpose in criminal cases, the statement says. The plight of these children deserves nothing less than a prompt and professional investigation which must be free from interference and influence.
“This case again brings into focus increasing incidents of violence against children that remain unchecked and calls for measures to save children from all kinds of violence. The incident has also drawn attention to the fact that child pornographic video clips are being procured and disseminated. The possibility of this business motivating child abuse needs to be properly investigated.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2015.