child lifting generic child abuse
Child abuse cases in Kasur city of Punjab are frequently reported. Photo for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: Police in Pakistan have arrested a man who allegedly sold his minor daughter for Rs500 (Dh12) to another man who then tried to rape her.

According to reports, the police on Sunday also arrested the man who bought the girl for sexual abuse. Police lodged a criminal case against both the suspects on the complaint of the minor’s mother. Zahid Nawaz Marwat, Divisional Police Office (DPO) in Kasur city of Punjab, had constituted a team comprising CIA officials for the arrest of the suspects.

According to the complainant, the mother said that her husband had called a man to their house and let him sexually abuse their 12-year-old daughter after receiving Rs500. She said she was away for work when the incident happened. Her daughter told her about the incident when she returned. Meanwhile, both the suspects managed to escape, reported Dawn news.

Police took the victim to hospital for medical examination. They claimed it was an incident of attempted rape.

The suspect who paid the amount to the father had earlier been booked in a child abuse case in 2013 but got off scot free.

Police lodged the fresh case under sections 376 (of rape), 371-A (selling person for the purposes of prostitution), 371-B (buying person for the purposes of prostitution) of PPC against the suspects and were conducting raids to arrest them.

The district police remained in a defensive mode on Sunday after a list went viral on social media in which over a hundred people of the district were declared as touts — people who are patrons of prostitution and criminals involved in prostitution. The list was reportedly prepared by an intelligence agency.

Influential touts

The list included names of influential people including, local political figures of union council level, lawyers and reporters as ‘touts’, who often got the arrested suspects released after taking some money from the aggrieved party and sharing it with police.

Initially, it was reported that the list had been prepared by the district police, but later the department denied its issuance through an official handout. Various stakeholders, including local reporters in Kasur, criticised the police for wrongly naming them.

The handout also stated that police would prepare a list of touts after thorough verification and investigation. The department refused to own the list that was viral on social media and said that touts in police stations would be banned and dealt with an iron hand.

Kasur, a small city located at distance of some 52km from Lahore, is notorious for child abuse and sexual abuse case.

Zainab rape and murder case

The latest incident has reminded people of heinous rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur in 2018. The brutal nature of the crime had sparked immediate riots in Kasur — in which two people were killed — while #JusticeforZainab became a rallying cry for an end to violence against children.

The city is known for child pornography as well. In 2015, a child pornography ring was busted in Kasur, where more than 200 children of the Hussain Khanwala village were being filmed. Through the mechanisms of fear and threat to life, these children and their families were pressured to keep silent. As per statistics compiled by non-governmental organisation, Sahil, 285 cases of child sexual abuse were recorded in this case.

The accused Imran Ali, who was convicted in Zainab’s rape and murder case, was executed nine months after the child’s death.

Child abuse cases in Pakistan

A report by the NGO Sahil had revealed earlier this year that reported cases of child abuse increased by 11 per cent in year 2018 compared to 2017, with more than 10 children suffering some form of abuse every day in Pakistan.

The report, titled ‘Cruel Numbers 2018’, had found that cases of child sexual abuse specifically witnessed a rise of a significant 33 per cent when compared with the reported cases of 2017.

The Sahil report released last year found that a total of 3,832 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers in all four provinces as well as Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan. In comparison, 3,445 such incidents were reported from January to December 2017.

Major findings:

3,832 cases of child abuse reported in 2018

3 per cent rise seen in child sexual abuse cases

Girls found to be more vulnerable between ages 0-5 and 16-18

Boys found to be more vulnerable between ages 6-10 and 11-15

Most child abuse cases reported from Punjab, followed by Sindh and KP