Karachi: Incensed by the sudden rise in incidents of child rape across the country, Karachi’s civil society and students demanded the strictest possible punishment for the perpetrators of such acts.
In a protest rally organised “to nudge awake the authorities”, members of civil society organisations and students called for the government to take measures to end the gruesome injustice against children.
A number of non-governmental organisations, along with students, took part in the rally that started from the Art Council and ended at the Karachi Press Club.
Under the auspices of the Joint Action Committee (an umbrella forum for some of the leading NGOs active in the city), the demonstrators condemned the attacks on the Peshawar church and demanded bringing the culprits to book.
“In the past few days the law and order situation in Pakistan has hit the lowest ebb. We seem like a diseased society,” said Mehnaz Rehman, director of the Women’s Action Forum.
She resented that the law enforcement agencies were yet to apprehend the main accused of the Lahore gang rape case.
On the other hand, referring to Jundul Hafsa claiming responsibility for the Peshawar attacks, she said, “The group shamelessly claimed responsibly for killing innocent people and said they would commit such crimes again. What are our agencies doing?”
The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child distributed data compiled by the Madadgaar Helpline, according to which around 5,659 cases of violence against children were reported between January and October 2012.
Data compiled by Sahil, an NGO working against child violence, showed that 3,861 cases of child sexual abuse were reported across the country last year.
Speaking at the rally, Farhat Parveen of Now Communities said the government should immediately come up with legislation that bars out-of-court settlements. “The lacuna in our law makes murder a matter that can be sorted out with money. The government should bar such practices.”
The demonstrators appealed to the legislatures to repel laws like the Hudood Ordinance, which they termed “biased and anti-women”.
HANDS, Takhleeq Foundation, Initiator Human Development Foundation and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum also participated in the rally.