Every nation is working on the malnutrition of their children, which are meant to be their future, while in Pakistan Child Abuse is on the rise, lack of knowledge and awareness makes it more common in the rural area, but the rate is rapidly increasing in the urban area too.
Child Abuse can be of various types:
- Child Labor
- Forced Marriages
The list may go on, there are many social crimes being practiced in our community, which disturbs the growth of the society and make it more regressive.
Now let’s talk about numbers, Sahil, an NGO that has been working since 1996 on child protection mainly against child sexual abuse. According to their report of 2019, the child sexual abuse rate in Pakistan continues to be 7 children per day which are horrifying. The total number of cases reported in the first six months of 2019 is 1304, the majority reported in the crime category of rape, hence keep in mind the under-reporting of these cases. Urban areas report 41% of cases, while rural areas report 59%. Punjab, being the majorly populated province leads the number of cases with 652, followed by Sindh 458, 90 in the federal capital territory, 58 cases from the KPK, 32 cases from Balochistan, and 18 cases from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
What has changed since then?
Child abuse was taken very much seriously and on the highest level, when a girl named, Zainab Ansari, 8 years old was raped and strangled to death by a 24-year-old Imran Ali. This news led to countrywide protests demanding justice for the girl and her parents. This case acted as an awareness for the society and hence the government who came with the Zainab Alert bill in 2020.
Zainab Alert Bill
The bill came into being, to serve the purpose of reducing the kidnap of children, a new federal agency is created named, ZARRA who shall be responsible to reduce child kidnapping, improve recovery and increase awareness against sexual abuse of children across all provinces of Pakistan. Zainab Alert Act provides ease of use to the missing child’s parent/guardian to notify the police. The act also provides a process for the local police department to issue an emergency alert using an emergency broadcasting system on mobile phones within a 20km region where the child was last seen. A major key feature of the Act is to establish a national database of missing and recovered children applicable across Pakistan and makes the ZARRA agency accountable to submit quarterly reports to the National Assembly of Pakistan.
Pakistan has identified the problem of child abuse at the highest level, which is the government, and the national assembly. Now, it is time to take swift actions that drive us as Pakistani towards the solution of this problem, which is the rapid reduction of child abuse in Pakistan of any sort.