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September 22, 2019

Necessary vigilance


September 22, 2019

The protests by the citizens of Chunian, where the remains of at least three boys were found a few days ago, have led to the usual procedure in such cases, with senior police officials in Kasur having been replaced and others appointed with orders to solve the matter. There has been some sign of positive effort from the police, with orders issued to take DNA samples of all the men in a particular area of Chunian and ensure they remain in their homes on the specified date. Three hundred samples have already been collected. But we cannot say if things are getting any better. There were reports on Friday that from the same Chunian district, two motorcyclists tried to kidnap two boys and were able to take away one. The identity of the child is not known, but naturally such acts will intensify the horror and terror being felt by parents in the area.

Naturally, the disappearance and killing of children draws huge public attention, immense public grief and builds anxiety within that community. In Kasur, we all stand to blame for failing to act strongly after the massive child pornography case of 2015 was revealed. There should have been more action, more laws, more guidelines for parents and for communities. The reality is that in the current situation not only in Kasur but elsewhere across the country, we are unable to keep our children from harm. In other towns too, incidents of kidnapping have been reported.

While we hope the police will conduct a full investigation backed by the administrative machinery of Kasur, we need more. We need communities to become involved in the care of children, not only their own but all who live near them. It is indifference that has also made it easier for evil men to prey on children. We need far greater vigilance and we also need to move beyond cosmetic steps. The influential people believed to have been behind the Kasur pornography case have never been penalised. This allows them to get away scot-free in a society where justice is not for all. There is certainly no justice for the children who have been killed in Kasur. The serial killer needs to be brought into custody under the law. But beyond this, in all our cities, in all our towns, we need more mechanisms, formal and informal, to watch over our children and keep them safe.

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