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Panel on Zainab’s case suggests certain measures on child abuse

ISLAMABAD: In a backdrop of Zainab’s murder case, a report of a task force, constituted by Federal Ombudsman to diagnose systematic issue of child abuse suggested some certain measures to curb the menace.

The report titled ‘Mapping of Issues & Response to Sexual Violence Against Children’ recently submitted before the Steering committee on Kasur Tragedy & Redressal of systematic issues’ proposed 11-point remedial measures to prevent and control the rising cases of shameful acts with children in different parts of the country, especially Kasur.

The document also highlighted the concerned authorities’ failure in controlling the incidents and tracing the culprits of certain mafia involved in child pornography. Unfortunately the report revealed Punjab’s most pathetic situation where some 1,089 cases of sexual violence, out of 4,139 in the entire country in 2017, were reported. Lahore was among top where majority of the incidents occurred.

Kasur-based study was conducted in six months involving extensive desk research of prevailing system and legal framework, meetings with multi-stakeholders and a five-week long field work. The study recommended long and short term steps.

Setting up of a ‘One Stop Facilitation Centre’ in Kasur as pilot project on earliest in order to provide medical, psychiatric, psycho-social and legal support to the victims and their families at district and tehsil level was a short term solution recommended by the force.

It was endorsed in the steering committee chaired by Syed Tahir Shabaz Wafaqi Mohtsib that such centres would be run under the supervision of a committee comprising of official of health department and federal and provincial commissioners.

International development partners and Unicef would be approached for financial assistance to manage these centres.

The report also recommended such centres must be equipped tools to conduct effective monitoring, reporting and oversight of child right violation. Beside, ensuring the legal assistance and other necessary help to the aggrieved parties. It also emphasized for developing database of DNA of the criminals, suspects and potential perpetrators at district Kasur level on urgent basis to ensure quick tracing of the offenders of sexual abuse and missing children, besides adopting zero tolerance against culprits.

“Long term initiatives proposed enactment of new laws and some amendments in existing laws to ensure psyco-social, legal and medical support as well as prohibition of exonerating of accused with the consent of aggrieved. The legal time-frame of such cases must be reduced to six months,” it added.

The installation of more close-circuit television (CCCTV) cameras in more prone cities and development of protocol with Facebook and Google authorities to control inflow and outflow of pornographic materials is also suggested.

It also underlined to introduce educational reforms by starting sensitization and training of school/ Madrassah going children and teachers, boy scouts and girl guides to beat the threat of such attempts.

Parents should also be imparted trainings on same lines. Police trainings are more critical to handle the victim, accused and media as per national and international laws, the report highlighted.

Talking to this agency, Commissioner for Children and Adviser of Federal Ombudsman Syeda Viqar-un-Nisa Hashmi said the report is now with the President of Pakistan and consultation on child abused issue with parliamentarians are scheduled in the coming days.

Syeda Viqar said they would provide full support and facilitate the concerned authorities for rooting out this menace from the country. The commissioner regretted that about 92 per cent of the reported accused were illiterate and had formal education.

Forty five per cent of whom studied up to only primary level, followed by 15 who went to have secondary and middle classes, she added. She stressed to educate parents for keeping the children away from the electronic gadgets which were a main source of incitement in early ages.

The News