It often takes a superhuman effort on the part of media persons to be dispassionate and not harbour a certain degree of revulsion for the perpetrators of child abuse. Children deserve to be treated with extreme sensitivity. Any form of abuse against them can have a devastating effect for a very long time. In Pakistan child abuse is becoming starker and more and more cases are being reported on a regular basis.
The brutal rape and murder of little Zainab a few months back sent shockwaves through the nation and the perpetrator was eventually caught and swift justice dispensed. There are many who would accept that child abuse usually occurs in rural villages where parents are illiterate and beat their children black and blue to discipline them. However, two major cases of child maid abuse have come to light recently which has shocked the nation not so much for the severity or gravity of the crime but for the status of the offenders.
The first case is of Tayyaba, a 10-year-old, who was abused physically by none other than a magistrate and his wife who at first tried to hush up the matter by coercing the child’s father to give a false statement to the court to absolve them. The judge and his wife were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment later enhanced to three years. In another glaring case, a servicewoman and her husband were caught after inflicting severe injuries on their 11-year-old child maid Kinza. How educated people can behave in such a despicable and inhumane manner stuns the imagination.
What is the most disturbing aspect of all this is the laxity of the laws on protecting children. Unless stringent laws are not enacted and severe punishment given irrespective of status, our children will continue to suffer.