Millions of parents across Pakistan received a shock just as they brought their children home from school on September 26. Two heartbreaking stories came to light, both involving young teenage girls.
The first shook people in the major metropolis of Karachi, where a 13-year-old student’s body was found on the popular Seaview Beach. The girl was kidnapped at school two days earlier and her body was found, with doctors saying later that she had been raped. The second case was out of Gujranwala, where two female students were found, their bodies pierced with bullets. The police claim that these girls were also sexually assaulted before being murdered. The incidents have brought fear to parents across the country, as they rightfully should. These were abhorrent acts by the perpetrators and it is time for the authorities to act responsibly and bring these men to public shame.
There are many on whom fingers can be pointed in such instances. In the first case, we turn to the gatekeepers and administration of the school for allowing the girl to leave without parental permission. In the second, we can question the parents as to why their young teenage daughters were roaming alone within apparent easy reach of kidnappers and murderers? However, in the end, it is a deeper concern that involves the psyche of the perpetrators, who see the female sex as being inferior and without basic human rights.
Some child rights organisations are fighting for authorities to take such crimes seriously and it is imperative that parents and all citizens alike across the country support this stance. Going forward, pressure must be put on the authorities to give the criminals deterrent punishment. This issue, and many others that rob children of their innocence, freedom, and lives, needs the undivided attention of those responsible for protecting all people’s basic human rights. If the security and lives of people’s children cannot be ensured, patriotism and loyalty will be well on their way to becoming secondary concerns for many citizens.