(G.N.S) Dt. 24
The brutal rape and murder of the seven-year-old Zainab Ansari in Pakistans’s Kasur dstrict triggered nation-wide protests across the country. Many say the incident is Pakistan’s ‘Nirbhaya’ moment- the time when the brutal rape and mutilation of a 23-year-old paramedical student rocked India and led to a landmark change in laws around women safety.
Zainab, whose body was discovered in a dumpster in Kasur, went missing on January 4. She was last seen being led by an unidentified hand. A CCTV footage of the two them showed Zainab holding the hand of the man, suspected to have committed the crime.
Pak police on Tuesday nabbed the prime suspect related to Zainab’s case with officials suspecting that the same man to have committed multiple murders. It was also said that Imran Ali, who was also Zainab’s neihgbour, is suspected of raping and killing at least seven girls.
A total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported across Pakistan in the first six months of 2017, according to Sahil, an organisation that works on child protection.
Ever since the matter came to light, hundreds have protested against the existing apathy towards the rising number of sexual assault cases in the country.
In 2015, Kasur triggered a shock wave across the country as a sex abuse scandal involving nearly 300 minors came to light. It was deemed to be the worst case Pakistan had ever seen so far. The victims, mostly boys, were reported to be sexually abused and their families were blackmailed by an extortion ring that sold their videos and photos.
Sexual abuse is reportedly on the rise in Pakistan. More than 4,000 cases reported in 2016, up by 10 percent over the previous year, said a Reuters report while citing data from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Candle-light marches and a social media campaign running under the #JusticeforZainab hashtag have dominated public discourse in the country. Activists have also made fresh calls for breaking the existing silence around sex in the country.
A child protection committee has launched an awareness program in schools to warn children against rape and kidnap attempts in Kasur. Activists made fresh bids to end the existing silence around sexual abuse and help children foil sexual advances of strangers.