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February 14, 2020

Outdated system

Newspost

 
February 14, 2020

Unfortunately, the abuse and murder of children is widespread in this country. In several recent cases the state has failed to trace the perpetrators or get them punished. One can therefore understand its frustration. Incidents of this sort are also reported in Europe and the US but the difference is that those involved in the crime are mostly traced by competent agencies using modern technology and are duly punished. Successive governments in Pakistan, including the current one, have displayed unconscionable negligence in enacting child protection laws. It was two years after the brutal rape and killing of Zainab Ansari in Kasur that the National Assembly passed the Zainab Alert Bill for the recovery of missing children. The bill however had a serious limitation as its jurisdiction was confined only to Islamabad.

Even when child protection laws are passed the governments fails to implement them. Laws have been passed by Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against vagrancy, envisaging welfare homes. Had they been effectively implemented, one would not have encountered children begging in the streets of Lahore or Peshawar, who often fall prey to predators. A firm and timely implementation of the existing laws can control most of the crimes against children. There are laws against rape and there are laws against murder but what is lacking is a modern system to track the criminals, collect forensic evidence, prepare a fool-proof case and get the perpetrators sentenced.

Azfar Siddiqui

Lahore