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National

January 23, 2018

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NCHR to become party in Zainab murder case

ISLAMABAD: National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has decided to become party in the case of child abuse and murder of minor Zainab in Kasur. An announcement in this regard was made by NCHR Chairman Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chowhan while addressing media at the dissemination event “Kasur: The Horror Prevails,” a follow-up report in relation to the sexual abuse of children in the village Hussain Khan Wala, and the fact-finding report on the recent rapes and murders of minors in the Kasur district of Punjab, Pakistan.

The report provides details of the observations of NCHR’s fact finding committee about the incident of Hussain Khan Wala as well as the brutal killings of 12 minor boys and girls which took place in a very close radius in the under-construction houses between the years 2015-2017.

NCHR chairman said that occurrence of such cases reflects upon the complete negligence, unprofessionalism and failure of police. He demanded accountability of police department and transfer of police officers who failed to control the crime happening in the close vicinity for many years. He termed this alarming that the parents of victims believe that police was actually involved in protecting the perpetrators. “All these allegations are serious and must be investigated,” he added.

Ali Nawaz Chowhan said that acquittal of perpetrators in past cases encouraged the perpetrators. He said that claim of Zainab’s parents that police officer asked for Rs10,000 as reward for finding the dead body of little Zainab must be probed. “We condemn such inhuman attitude of law enforcers and demand punished for the responsible officer,” he said.

He said that NCHR published a detailed report on Kasur incident in 2017 but the recommendations were not implemented in letter and spirit. “We recommended taking strong preventive measures like awareness campaigns and trainings for police officers etc as well as psycho-social and financial support for the victims but unfortunately only cosmetic measures were take instead of taking concrete measures to avoid any such unfortunate incident,” he said.

Commenting on reports that Zaina’s parents were asked to pay for the DNA test, he said that DNA test expenses are the responsibility of state as the collection of evidence is the responsibility of the investigation agency. “It is shameful that the victim family was asked to pay the price,” he said.

Chairman also urged Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) to play active role in the taking up the cases of child sexual abuse and murder of minors in Kasur particularly Zaina’s case. He also suggested to form administrative divisions of Punjab police as he believed that one Inspector General could not control the law and order situation of the most populous province of the country.

The NCHR’s follow up report shows that among 12 cases of child sexual abuse and murder registered during 2015-2017, challans of nine cases are still not complete due to delay in receipt of DNA reports whereas the police department has not yet been able to even find name and present a list of perpetrators. The level of confidence and trust of the majority of the population in the district was very low. The police department was even accused by the victim’s families to arbitrate, or in some cases, pressurizing them to withdraw their cases against the accused.

The Commission recommended free legal and psycho-social, legal and financial aid for victim’s families, assistance of intelligence agencies in investigation, Child Protection Bureau in Kasur, trainings of health department, CDC supervisors, Lady Health Workers, Polio teams, dengue prevention teams, community field staff in detection and prevention of child abuse crimes. The commission also demanded helpline for child protection, training of police department and involvement of teachers in awareness raising campaigns.

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