Well-wishers light candles to protest the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari in Kasur, in this file picture. The city has a high number of child abuse cases. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Police have arrested four suspects for allegedly raping a boy in the town of Phool Nagar in Kasur, again putting the district in the news for child sexual abuse.

The suspects also made a video of the crime to blackmail the family.

The police registered a case against the suspects and also recovered videos and pictures.

According to police, the suspects already uploaded the photos and videos on social media after the victim’s family failed to pay them the amount they had demanded.

News of child sexual abuse has come from other cities of the country, but in Kasur the frequency is higher and gangs work in an more organised way there.

After the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in the city in January, the government and various departments have started paying attention to cases of child sexual abuse, which were continuously reported in the city.

According to data collected by the organisation Sahil, which works in child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, as many as 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported in Pakistan every day.

In Kasur — which saw a massive rise in child abuse cases in 2014 and 2015 — the rape and murders of 12 girls, all aged between five to eight, have been reported in the past 12 months. According to the latest figures released by Sahil, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from across the country in the first six months of 2017 alone.

In the previous year, the total number of reported child abuse cases stood at a staggering 4,139, bringing the total number of children being abused in Pakistan per day to 11.

According to the data, out of the total cases of child abuse from January to June 2017, 62 per cent were reported from Punjab.

Nazir Ahmad, Executive Director of Grassroot Organization for Development of Human Being (GODH), told Gulf News that the government did not have data of the exact number of children subjected to sexual abuse. In a majority of cases, the children are murdered after the abuse, and even if they are left alive their families don’t report them for fear of the children being tagged for their lifetime.

“In Pakistan, no law exists for protection, counselling or shelter of the abused children. A few centres under Child Welfare Protection Bureau and Social Welfare Department by the names of Negehban and Gehwara but their performance with regard to providing proper counselling and guidance to such students is not up to the mark,” Ahmad said.

He said Pakistani schools should be used as a forum to sensitise children about sexual abuse and laws should be passed to quickly try and convict so that the matter could be taken seriously and the perpetrators could be brought to justice.