Stories about Kasur

How does one demand #JusticeForZainab from the Punjab government when the executioners are the perpetrators?

Punjab has now become a hub of sexual violence and a living hell for children. The plethora of rape cases being reported in this province alone is higher than all the other provinces combined. One wonders though, why the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) tenures always wreak havoc on innocent children. Is it criminal negligence, or a deliberate failure to act against the perpetrators? Or is it something else entirely? In 2015, over 200 children were sexually abused in Kasur, and their pornographic videos sold in the international black market. In response, there was a long list of notices taken by the Sharif brothers and a joint ...

Read Full Post

Seeking #JusticeForZainab in a land where mindset might change but inherent nature will not

We all saw Zainab’s funeral on our television screens. Some of us were there as well, witnessing her cold body wrapped in a white cloth with a green cloth bearing verses from the Holy Quran. Then we read the ticker on all news channels that informed us of her burial in a local graveyard. All of this compelled me to envisage the pre-Islamic age of ignorance of which one of the prime features was burying newborn girls alive. Many believe that both of these are two isomers of the same ignorance that comprises philistinism, unawareness, barbarism, inhumanity and ruthlessness. Although ...

Read Full Post

Happy Children’s Day, Pakistan! BTW, child sexual abuse increased by 10% since 2016

Child abuse is one of the most prevalent social issues in Pakistan. A 2017 report suggests that there has been a 10% increase in cases since last year alone. The issue is only made worse by the fact that neither do we talk about its prevalence, nor do we take any preventive or rehabilitative measures to deal with it. Topics of importance, such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault, honour killing, forced marriage or mental illness, all are considered taboo and often brushed under the rug. The fear of being shunned by society and victim-shamed is perhaps what keeps some of the victims from speaking up about the issue ...

Read Full Post

The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

Read Full Post

The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

Read Full Post

1965: Allah (SWT), artillery and the Pakistan Air Force

In Pakistan’s 68 years of independence there have been incidences where its people have risen as a nation. May it be a long perilous migration in 1947, a World Cup final between England and Pakistan or setting the record of largest number of individuals singing the national anthem, the Pakistani nation has never failed to surprise and amaze the world with its determination, patriotism and national fervour. Despite the fact that Pakistan is home to 182 million citizens with diverse cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds, these people have risen above their differences and have united against great odds, proving that indeed no power on earth can undo Pakistan. It ...

Read Full Post

The yearning of a 78-year-old Indian to visit Lahore

My uncle, a 78-year-old retired government officer, recently came to visit and stayed with us for a few weeks. One day, while I was working on my computer, he inquisitively asked, “What sort of things can this machine do?” I explained to him that one can write documents, make presentations, seek information on any topic, watch movies and listen to music, and view different places (including our own residence) amongst a zillion other functions. After a brief pause, with an innocent look on his face, he asked, “Can it show the picture of my village Uche Ladhe in district Lahore?” Touched by his question and his desire ...

Read Full Post

Sexually abusing children in the name of sex education

Very often we find a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it can be a doctor who gives you the wrong diagnosis or treatment to con you out of money or it can be a preacher who radicalises innocent youth seeking spiritual education. All of us are always at the mercy of someone whose occupation puts them in a position where we are likely to trust them. Recently, a 50-year-old tutor in Lahore was arrested for sexually assaulting his pupils, and videotaping the crimes. He confessed to victimising over 20 children over the past six years while working at several academies in Lahore. He said he ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan bold enough to give sex-offenders the death penalty?

A recent verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has laid appropriate emphasis on the award of both criminal and civil compensation for rape victims. In the contemporary judgment of Nadeem Masood vs The State, Justice Anwarul Haq, while invoking Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), not only sentenced the convict to 20 years of imprisonment but also ordered the offender to pay compensation of Rs0.1 million to the victim and another one million rupees to the child born out of the rape. This judgement, however, comprises part of the population of less than five per cent of Pakistan’s rape cases that actually ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan cannot tackle child abuse with politicians like Rana Sanaullah in power

Like a tiny flame still years away from growing into a full blown fire, a child is deeply vulnerable to strong winds. Due to this susceptibility, a child feels more intensely than adults do; raised voices from parents, the death of a pet, a seriously traumatic event, all become long-term fixtures on the portrait of a child’s mind. Now imagine the repercussions of molestation on such an impressionable consciousness. A child’s mind is like an open canvas gradually taking shape from the brushstrokes of life’s experiences. An event such as child molestation only leaves permanent dark splotches on the canvas. Through years of ...

Read Full Post