Did We Learn Anything From Zainab Rape Case?
According to a report, almost 12 children were abused per day during the first half of 2018.
12 children every day, including Zainab Ansari, whose case shocked not just Pakistan, but the world. I would never be able to forget 10th January 2018, when little Zainab’s dead body was found from a garbage dump in Kasur. Tests later revealed that she was strangled to death after being subjected to sexual abuse.
Zainab was on her way to Quran recital class when she was abducted, later raped and then horrendously killed by the perpetrator, Imran Ali. The aftermath of this was so huge that it led to nationwide protests and social media outrage. Clashes between Police and the protesters also led to death of a couple of people.
Justice for Zainab
For many days, Kasur remained talk of the town, which brought state under pressure. This eventually led to the arrest of the despicable and vile creature named Imran Ali. After 9 months of trail, he was convicted and was executed on 29th October 2018, but the question remains that what happened after the Zainab Saga?
What was the lesson state learnt?
Let’s us get facts right. SAAHIL, an organization working for child protection since many years, published a report during the first half of 2018 (Jan-June) on child abuse cases and the findings were shocking.
In 2017, there were 3,445 child abuse case reported in Pakistan which include abduction, sodomy, rape, missing children, attempt of rape, gang sodomy, attempt of sodomy, gang rape and child marriages.
Data reveals that almost 12 children were abused per day during the first half of 2018, and an increase of 32% was seen in comparison to 2017.
The statistics of the report show that out of the total reported 2,322 cases in the 2018, (1298) 56% of the victims were girls and (1024) 44% were boys. Looking at the numbers with sense of shame, I have to say that kids were ‘safer’ in 2017 than in 2018.
Zainab Alert Act
After the Zainab murder case, PTI leader Asad Umar drafted the bill named Zainab Alert System.
The key takeaway from the bill was that whenever a child goes missing, immediate details will be given to every possible digital and broadcast mediums.
I was very content when I came to know that PTI government will implement it. However, I have gutted to know that the Bill has been handed over to law ministry by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, and the ministry is giving illogical explanations that the Bill can only be imposed in Islamabad.
What is the reason?
The reasons of this spectrum of child abuse reside in some of our own faults.
For example, when news broke about Zainab, it was covered by one media channel, then another and soon it spread like fire because it was trending. Eventually, she got justice but what happened to 1000s of children who were killed the same year? Did we talk about what was lacking in other 3,444 cases? Did we have discourses on how to curb and confront this menace? Did we talk about why the conviction rates for child abuse cases is only 5%?
No, we did not.
‘Sensationalism is made only to last 5 minutes’ writes Paul Coelho.
After the Zainab case, people spoke for some days about ground changes needed e.g. awareness programs for children and parents and the Zainab alert system but all of this withered off with time.
Remembering Zainab in prayers is important but how can we rest her soul by keeping the doors open for more perpetrators like Imran Ali to continue abusing this country’s future generations? Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of USA during the new deal era in 1930s met with a group of labour union leaders in cause of their rights.
In the meeting, FDR told the group: “I agree with you, I want to do it, now go and MAKE ME DO IT”.
Make them(politicians) do it, do not forget because you owe it to your children as well.
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