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Stop Child Abuse: World Children Day 2020

World Children Day is celebrated every year on 20th November by the United Nations. This year the theme for World Children Day is: Investing in our future means investing in our children — which is why the United Nations has designated every November 20 as Universal Children’s Day. It’s a time to promote togetherness around the world, awareness of the problems children face in every corner of the globe, and improve the welfare for all children.

To celebrate this day in Pakistan, I intend to call upon keen attention of policymakers to address child abuse in the earliest possible manner. The cases of sexual abuse with children are tremendously increasing day by day. The statistics show 1,489 sexually abused cases in the first half of the year, as reported in Dawn, 26 Aug 2020. The victims include 785 girls and 704 boys. While 822 abusers were from the victim’s family, strangers were involved in 135 reported cases.

A seven years old girl is sexually abused and then burnt to death in Badhber, Peshawar, reported in Dawn, 20 November 2020. The seven years old girl was missing from one day and her body was found in the nearby graveyard burnt to death. This incident horrified everyone in the country, specifically the local people of Badhber. Later, the residents recorded a protest and blocked Kohat road for several hours. But the police officers assured them of the early arrest of the culprit.

Such brutality cannot be expected in the community of animals. Thinking of this barbarism is shivering my body. But the policymakers are silent to address this societal problem. We need to implement strict laws to save our children from this inhuman torture.

Firstly, the state must address this problem with immediate policy debate in the Parliament to address this social evil. The “Public Hanging Law” is passed by the National Assembly in February 2020. Where the signatories wrote; “This house (National Assembly) demands that to stop these shameful and brutal killings of children and give a strong deterrent effect, the killers and rapists should not only be given the death penalty by hanging but they should be hanged publicly”. Law is passed but the implementation of the law is not yet seen.

Secondly, governance indicators show the ‘Rule of Law’ is the major indicator of good governance. Unfortunately, rule of law doesn’t exist in Pakistan. The Public Hanging Law is not yet implemented. The culprits are not given the death penalty with pubic hanging.

Two months before, on September 10, 2020, a mother was raped in front of her children on motorway Lahore. This incident had spread fear in the whole country. Thousands of people took to social media, Facebook and Twitter to pressurize the government and share the pain with the family of the victim. Prime Minister Imran Khan told in a news interview with Dunya News that; “Rapists should be castrated chemically so that they cannot carry out the crime again in the future”. Beside political statements, the government is completely silent.

Thirdly, the government should support institutions in punishing the rapist and all others involved in the process. First, rapists should be castrated chemically or with surgery and second, they should be hanged publicly, telecasted on television. All others involved in the process must be punished according to the law. In fact they shall be imprisoned to life.

Fourthly, the government should ask for the help of religious scholars to address this problem in reference to the teachings of Islam, Quran and Hadith in Mosques. There shall be a voluntary television campaign by all national televisions to educate the masses about this problem.

Fifthly, the Ministry of Education should make “Sex Education” a mandatory part of our syllabus to educate the general public. This can contribute impressively to the reduction of cases by raising self awareness.

Last but not the least, citizens of Pakistan have the constitutional right to be safe and guarded by the state. The state must hang rapist to save society. The state must fulfil its duty and ensure the safety of children.

To conclude, I must say; Our children are the upcoming youth and the asset of this nation. In child abuse, this nation might lose a good doctor, a writer, a scientist, a philosopher, a politician and above all, a good human being. We need to think, we need to stop, we (the state and the people of Pakistan) need to protect the children before it’s too late.

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Naya Daur