Khalida Niaz

Three incidents of child sexual assaults have been reported in Peshawar over past three weeks.

In two of these incidents, the minors were also murdered after the sexual assault.

On Monday night, a minor girl was found murdered in the Peshawar Cantonment limits. Body of the seven years old girl was recovered from the Bijli Ghar mosque area. According to the minor’s grandfather, the girl had gone out of her home at around noon and did not return. Her body was found from the mosque premises in the evening.

Initial reports suggested that the child was slaughtered.

The grandfather said that they approached the West Cantonment police station in the evening after failing to locate the child. Police recovered the minor’s body from the local mosque. The family said that they have no enmity with anyone.

Killing of Mahnoor

Earlier in the first week of July, a minor identified as Mahnoor was found murdered after sexual assault in the Railway Colony area of the city.

The family said that their child was subjected to sexual assault and later murdered.

Family members and locals protested against the murder.

Mahnoor’s father said that her daughter had gone out of her home to purchase something from nearby shop. He said that they found her body after searching for several hours. “She had wound on her head and strangulated with a piece of cloth,” he said.

On the other hand, a five years old girl was subjected to sexual abuse in Gulberg area of provincial capital on July 10. According to the family, when they took the minor to hospital, doctors confirmed the sexual assault.

Pak reports 180 sexual assault and other acts of violence in June alone

Sustainable Social Development Organization and Center for Research, Development and Communication‘s report said that at least 180 children across the country were subjected to sexual and physical violence during the month of June this year alone.

Of this 93 incidents were of child sexual assault, 64 incidents of abductions and 37 others of physical violence.

Punjab topped the list of with 36 incidents of sexual assault, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh reported 28 and 18 incidents respectively.

On the other hand, federal capital reported six incidents and Balohistan five.

On the other hand, NGO Sahil which keep track on the sexual assaults on children, in 2021 about 3,852 children including 2068 girls and 1784 boys were subjected to sexual assault.

The report said that on average 10 children were subjected to sexual assault every day while 1060 cases of kidnapping were also reported.

The report said that 22 boys and 18 girls were murdered after sexual assault while 10 boys and three girls were also murdered after gang rapes.

Imran Takkar, a child rights activist said that parents’ carelessness towards children also resulted into such harrowing incidents. Many a times, parents leave their children on their own.

Mr Takkar said that in the Peshawar Cantonment incident, the minor was allowed to go out of her home at around 2pm in the afternoon.

“Parents also have responsibility in such cases,” he said.

Why sexual assault on the rise?

Mr Takkar said that public has a short memory and moves after talking about such incidents in the heat of the moment.

However, the accused slip through the legal system thus this vicious circle was continuing.

However, Mr Takkar said that people, lawmaker and media need to raise their voice against the incidents of child sexual assault.

In addition to this, he said that changes should also be made to the school curriculum to raise awareness in this regard. “School and seminaries teachers should also play their role in this regard,” he said.

Besides, he said that parents should also pay attention to deprived and mentally unstable people as such people usually attack children.

Child protection committees are not properly functioning

Mr Takkar said that there was a child protection commission while child protection courts and committees have also been setup at district level. However, he said that these committees were not fully functional.

Besides, he said that most of the accused go scot free after their arrests.

Besides, he said that there was dearth of medical laboratories in KP.

He said that there was only medical laboratory which was overburdened as well as lacked modern equipment. “Many a times sexual assault cases tests are sent to Islamabad and Lahore, which wastes precious times,” he said.

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