Earlier this month, twelve-year-old Ahmed Bhatti was kidnapped from Tandojam in Sindh and was gang-raped for several days. According to a report in a regional newspaper, he reached home after a couple of days and informed his parents about the gruesome incident.
According to Bhatti, he was taken to Hyderabad where other children were also present with the kidnappers who were recording videos of the children while abusing them. The abductors were also injecting children with intoxicants before abusing them en masse.
This is not the only case of its kind in recent times. Local newspapers have recorded several child abuse cases on a daily basis in the province.
Another incident took place earlier this month in Dadu, where an influential person was booked for the rape of a fifth-grader girl, who is just 10 years old. She was kidnapped and raped when returning from school. Luckily, she was taken to a hospital in time and survived, but at the cost of severe mental trauma.
A few months back, a retired school teacher, Sarang Shar, was caught when he recorded a video of a minor while sexually abusing him. He was booked for abusing several students when the incident came to light. According to The Express Tribune, Khairpur police arrested the retired teacher who had allegedly raped his students and filmed the acts, a day after he fled from Thari Mirwah.
The scandal sent shockwaves through the district after videos and pictures emerged on social media showing Sarang Shar sexually assaulting a young boy, with angry residents and activists demanding justice for the young students. Meanwhile, the families of two of the alleged victims filed cases against the retired government teacher, who ran a private tuition centre in the small town.
While Shar is in jail at present, there has been no drop in cases of child abuse showing that the root cause of the malaise has not been addressed.
Working on children rights, Initiator Human Development Foundation’s Rana Asif Habib said there was no child protection policy at the centre or the provincial level. “Sindh Child Protection Authority was formulated in 2011 but it does not have its own staff,” he regretted, adding that, “Out of a Rs200 million budget, Rs160 million lapse every year.”
Moreover, there is no protection centre for vulnerable children and the only child protection centre is under completion since 2010 in Karachi.
Habib said further that the Police Order of 1902 and 1934 was not human friendly and SHOs have been found guilty of manhandling victims many times. “FIRs of cases involving women and children are not registered without the permission of the SSP, so not all cases are registered,” he claimed.