Mass child abuse in Pakistan: HRCP report

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reports credible proof of mass child sexual abuse in Pakistan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Children turn their backs to the camera while their mothers are interviewed

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that children in Husain Khanwala village of Kasur district were raped by a gang organizing in their town and their families blackmailed with videos of sexual abuse.

The child abuse scandal erupted after clashes between police and families protesting in Kasur earlier this month injured two dozen protestors and 28 police officers.

The report claimed that a nine-member fact-finding team visited Kasur on Aug. 11 and interviewed local police, families of children and local social activists who made complaints about sexual abuse.

No effective investigation was conducted by police until the fact-finding team visited Kasur.

The team accused political party leaders and workers of paying attention for better legislation or policy for child protection rather than protection of the children against sexual abuse.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “HRCP is horrified to learn of the child sexual abuse saga in Kasur. There might be some ambiguity as to the number of children targeted, the time when the abuse took place, and whether a property dispute was involved, although how that makes the matter any less horrific is lost on us, but it is now certain that many children had been abused and their abuse was filmed.”

The media said there was several hundred video clips that showed scenes of sexual abuse involving almost 300 children. Most of them were between 10-16 years of age. The report could not give an accurate number of victims.

The HRCP report said “a heinous crime has been committed against children.”

“There is a body of material and credible testimonies indicating not only that a large number of children had been sexually abused and exploited by the accused, but also that this abuse had continued over a period of years – at least since 2010.”

Hina Jilania, Lahore-based human rights activist and head of the fact-finding team, said that a minister tried to weaken the case by linking the issue to land dispute.

She said that there were reports of the involvement of politicians and police officers in the tragic incident.

“The references made to a land dispute in the village are irrelevant and nothing can justify avoidance of impartial investigation and prosecution,” Hina Jilani said.

Activists say the absence of laws to deal specifically with child abuse and child rights in Pakistan led to the acquittal of hundreds of child abuse suspects in recent years.

The team found nobody to be concerned about children’s physical and psychological impact of the abuse. Suggestions made by the team about medical care and psychological support of the children were given no serious attention.

The Commission has demanded the government to assign the task of investigating Kasur child abuse case to Federal Investigation Agency.

TRTWorld and agencies