The Kasur Tragedies

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Tragedy has struck Kasur again this year, with three young boys found to be allegedly raped before being murdered. Five children, aged between 8 to 10, had gone missing in the months preceding this, and these three boys’ bodies were the ones found. Two of these children were reported missing a month ago, while the third had been missing for two days prior. Police found one body and two skeletal remains at a deserted area in Chunian Industrial Estate. According to Kasur’s District Police Officer Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani, it is unclear how they were murdered, but police suspect that they were raped beforehand.

Disturbingly, this is not the first case of young children being raped and murdered in Kasur. Just last year, in January, a 6-year-old girl named Zainab Ansari had been raped and murdered in Kasur, and her body had been found in a garbage pile. This horrific incident had caused outrage and demonstrations all over Pakistan, with #JusticeforZainab becoming a staple of the movement for ending violence against children. Zainab’s rapist and murderer, Imran Ali, was executed nine months after her body was found.

Sahil, an NGO, released a report (‘Cruel Numbers 2018’) earlier this year that showed that reported cases of child abuse increased by 11% in the year 2018 compared to 2017, with more than 10 children suffering some form of abuse every day in Pakistan last year. Reported cases of child sexual abuse rose by 33% since 2017.

It is absolutely horrifying and sickening that such crimes can take place at all, much less to such a large extent. It is our duty as a nation to protect all our citizens, and most notably children, the most vulnerable of us all. Immediate measures need to be implemented. One important factor is, of course, strengthening the punishments against all crime, especially sexual crimes, abuse, and murder, so that no one would dare try anything.

Another important factor, according to the Pakistan Association for Mental Health (PAMH), is to educate the children themselves about the risks that exist in the world and how they can protect themselves (i.e. health and safety, good touch/bad touch, etc.), as well as through fostering an environment in Kasur, and Pakistan as a whole, which encourages children to talk to their parents or guardians about anything, including threatening figures in their lives, etc. As for Kasur, a more immediate measure could be keeping sentries and guards near areas dominated by children, such as near schools, to protect them. The government needs to carry out these measures and more immediately before any other tragedy like this takes place. We all need to foster a society where nothing like this can happen ever again.