May 15, 2022

By Syed Amir Hussain Taqvi


CHUNIAN

While an increasing number of sexual and domestic violence incidents are reported across Pakistan every year, Punjab’s Kasur district has become particularly notorious for a number of shockingly harrowing cases of child sexual abuse.

One Afzal, a resident of Khatikan in Chunian tehsil, Kasur district, was arrested by police for repeatedly raping his 14-year-old step daughter. The offense did not come to light until the young girl’s health began deteriorating and she was taken to a hospital for a checkup where a doctor informed her family that she had been sexually assaulted.

Upon inquiry, the girl finally told her aunt that her step-father had been raping her for a long time in the absence of her mother, and had threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

According to the survivor’s aunt, Afzal also used to domestically abuse his wife.

“He put live wires against her temple to electrocute her,” she told Voicepk.net. The abuse had been so severe that it induced a miscarriage. “She is now on a ventilator at Jinnah Hospital in Lahohre. The doctors have said that there is little hope for her.”

When contacted for commented, Afzal’s relatives termed the allegations against him baseless and declined to say anything further.

KASUR: A HOTBED OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

In 2015, police nabbed 14 men of a gang involved in sexually abusing, filming and blackmailing at least 200 children of Hussain Khanwala village, Kasur, from 2006 to 2014. Widely regarded as Pakistan’s biggest child sexual abuse scandal, only three suspects were convicted by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) and given life in prison.

Three years later, the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari sparked protests across the country, with concerned citizens calling for a more effective state response to such cases. During investigation, 24-year-old Imran Ali confessed he had assaulted and killed her as well as seven other minors.

The case prompted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf led government to chalk out effective child protection legislation, and eventually passed the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act in 2020.

However, a year prior, Kasur made the headlines once again when serial rapist and murderer Sohail Shahzad confessed to police of raping and murdering four minor boys in September of 2019. Shahzad had been previously convicted of sodomizing a young boy in 2011 but managed to pressure the aggrieved party to withdraw the case.

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