‘Around 17,000 children were raped in last four years in Pakistan’

“We will need to take ownership of the fact that we have failed as a nation to protect our children''.

The country was left utterly shocked and traumatized at the rape and murder of the little Zainab, but sadly, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

The reports have revealed that more than 17,000 children have been a victim of sexual harassment in Pakistan merely in the period of four years.

Recently, the Ministry of Human Rights presented an analysis report in the National Assembly that clearly stated about 17,800 child rape cases in the country.

The relevant department of the government is presently working in alliance with Sahil, a non-governmental organization that works on the rights of children and their protection.

As per the details mentioned in the report, around 10,500 girls and 7,000 boys have been victimized in the last four years. In all these years, approximately 13,000 FIRs (First Information Reports) have been lodged against child harassment with the police department in Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the ugly reality is that only 112 cases came to an end with the accused being sentenced. Out of these 112 cases, 11 convicts have been given life sentences; whilst, 25 convicts have been awarded capital punishments. Apart from that, some of the convicts have been imprisoned for 25 years as a punishment.

Saima Shah, a child rights activist, has stated regarding the issue, “This gruesome figure is a stark reminder of the lack of implementation of law in Pakistan in preventing child abuse and neglect.”

The sickening part of the story is that child abuse is one of the most common crimes in the world. As mentioned by a Psychiatry professor in Harvard Medical Centre, Alaptagin Khan, “Child abuse is a national problem. It’s not confined to a single city, a single perpetrator or a gang exploiting young children.”

“We will need to take ownership of the fact that we have failed as a nation to protect our children,” he has further recommended.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017:

In regards to the increasing issue of child harassment in the country, the “Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017” was passed by the National Assembly, which directs to punish the convicts harshly for crimes like child harassment.

Under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the punishment of such offenses would be no less than 14 years of imprisonment, and in severe cases, it could extend up to 20 years or even more. Apart from that, a hefty fine would be imposed, which would be no less than PKR one million.

It goes without saying that the perpetrators need to be awarded severe and harsh punishments so that crimes like these can be put to an end.

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