By Xari Jalil
In reports coming in from Khairpur, it is believed that the families of the rape survivors have been paid for their silence as soon after the arrest, families began changing their statements in court.
According to the online court record, the accused was acquitted under 265-H (i).
On April 29, AGHS (Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell) issued a statement vehemently denouncing the acquittal of Sarang Shar.
AGHS vehemently denounces the acquittal of Sarang Shar, the teacher accused of raping & filming minors.
The blatant disregard for accountability after such incriminating evidence points to lingering flaws in the justice system & inadequate efforts to combat child sexual abuse. pic.twitter.com/Mec81YRe2i
— AGHS Legal Aid Cell, Asma Jahangir’s Law Firm (@Asma_Jahangir) April 29, 2023
Lawyer Jibran Nasir also took to Twitter to comment upon the acquittal in all three FIRs.
Online Court record shows that #SarangShar has been acquitted in not ONE but THREE separate FIRs registered for offence of sexual abuse under 377 PPC. Rest assured this case isn’t an exception but shows how our criminal justice system as well as state prosecution is rotting away. https://t.co/a2D391rp14 pic.twitter.com/Yooi57HF8f
— M. Jibran Nasir 🇵🇸 (@MJibranNasir) April 28, 2023
AUTHORITY PROMISE SUPORT
Meanwhile, the National Commission for the Rights of the Child (NCRC) released a statement expressing its concern over the acquittal of Sarang Shar. “In keeping with our mandate under the relevant law, we have written to the worthy IG Sindh requesting him to reinvestigate the matter afresh,” said the statement.
On Twitter, Rabiya Javeri Agha, the chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights said that once the written order was released, the NCHR would also help in ‘whatever way possible’.
“Federal and provincial govt are unequivocally clear on this matter that child abusers deserve no leniency and all available resources will be used. Sindh government has taken immediate notice and will be filing an appeal. Ayesha Raza chairperson of the Child Commission is coordinating with Sindh government,” said Salman Sufi, head of the PM’s Strategic Reforms Unit.
Former Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, who is also heading the Committee for the implementation of the Anti-Rape Act has confirmed that the government of Sindh has instructed the Prosecutor General to file an appeal.
“Everything at this moment depends upon the written order, which we need to look at, but it seems that the witnesses have withdrawn their statement,” she told Voicepk.net. “For now we are grateful for prompt action on behalf of Murtaza Wahab who has asked the Prosecutor General to take action as soon as possible.” Ayesha Raza has also written to the IG Sindh from her office, for his support
At the same time, a video had gone viral where the man can be clearly seen raping his student – a minor boy. It is a matter of concern as to how acceptable digital videos are in such a situation.
“We definitely need a better prosecutor on the case,” said Ayesha Raza. “But this too is the tip of the iceberg. We all know how many cases of such nature happen throughout the year, with children. At the end of the day, there is a lot of need to create awareness regarding this issue especially when it comes to resiling of statements. Right now our mandate is to advise the government bodies and ministries – it is the provinces that will have to work, but it is hopeful to see how Sindh is approaching this case with immediate effect.”
#SindhGovt will be filing appeal as as soon as written judgment is issued. So far just a short order acquitting Sarang Shar, clearly shown to be molesting the child in a video, has been announced by court. Chairman Bilawal is also following up on this issue. Will keep all posted https://t.co/LUJunxdzJW
— Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui (@murtazawahab1) April 29, 2023
Others also commented with outrage on the acquittal and expressed how it was an example of poor criminal justice.
How can #Sindh govt. be this blind?
The evidence are there, clearly visible yet d court released Sarang Shar on the grounds of stating that they don’t have enough proof.
Instead of protecting our children, you are giving immunity to the criminals. Shame on you#ArrestSarangShar pic.twitter.com/BYOw1oNhn2
— THE SINDHI NARRATIVE (@TSNARRATIVES) April 28, 2023
یہ ایک ریٹائرڈ ٹیچر ہیں جن کو کورٹ نے ‘ٹھوس شوائد/ثبوت’ نہ ہونے کی وجہ سے ‘باعزت’ بری کردیا۔ جبکہ گرفتاری سے پہلے جولائی 2020 میں ان کی کم سن بچوں کے ساتھ زیادتی کی ویڈیوز وائرل ہوئی تھیں۔ اس طرح انصاف کا مذاق اڑایا جاتا ہے پیارے پاکستان میں۔ #SarangShar pic.twitter.com/57y4tNZYFd
— Sameer Mandhro (@smendhro) April 27, 2023
PORNOGRAPHY & CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
In the year 2021, the data on child abuse cases shows that a total number of 3852 cases have been reported in newspapers according to statistics provided by Sahil. More than 10 children have been abused per day during the year 2021.
The cases of child abuse increased by more than 30% as compared to the year 2020. In the year 2021, the analysis of the data indicated that a total of 2,275 child sexual abuse (CSA) cases (750 cases were reported of sodomy, 676 cases were of rape, 561 with the attempt of CSA, 133 cases of pornography and CSA, 87 cases were murder after CSA, and 68 cases were of incest) were reported.
In the year 2021, out of the total number of 3852 reported cases more than half 52% of the cases were reported from the following 10 districts: Kasur, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Khairpur, Lahore, Okara, and Muzaffargarh. After a span of six years, Kasur again topped the list with 298 cases – it was where the news of the child porn ring broke, as well as the two serial killer cases who raped and murdered children, including Imran Ali who murdered seven-year-old Zainab Ansari and at least 8 other girls, and Sohail Shahzad who raped and killed four minor boys. Khairpur is also in the list at number 7 with 152 cases.
According to Section 292-B of the PPC, the definition of Pornography is, “…..any photograph, film, video, picture or representation, portrait, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of obscene or sexually explicit conduct..”
Experts and survivors agree that victims depicted in child pornography
often suffer a lifetime of trauma and re-victimization when explicit material in images and videos are placed on the internet and disseminated.
In its initial report filed at the time of the incident, Voicepk discovered that Shar had tried to flee his hometown when his videos surfaced on social media, but he was tracked and apprehended from nearby Kumbh a day later.
Two first information reports (FIRs) were booked against the suspect following complaints from the victims’ parents. The FIRs were lodged under Section 377 as well as the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), Section 7 ATA.
The incident occurred in Thari Mirwa Tehsil of Khairpur District two days ago but came to the limelight after a video of Shar allegedly molesting a tuition student aged 10 years went viral. More videos, showing Shar abusing multiple students surfaced shortly after.
In addition to abusing his students and filming it, Sher was also accused of forcing them to molest each other and then blackmailing them. It is worth noting that all students who attended Shar’s tuition center were aged between 10 to 12 years old.
According to the police, Sarang Shar has a criminal history. Earlier, he was facing double murder charges, which is why he decided to move to Thari Mirwah from Faiz Ganj, where he lived earlier. The police also revealed that Sarang exercised his influence to implicate the relatives of a minor boy in a false case when the boy refused to enter in an illicit relationship with him.
The father of a child who was molested and filmed by Shar had alleged at the time that the perpetrator was part of an international child pornography racket.
The victim’s father said that the former teacher who had molested his son was part of an organized gang that routinely composed and disbursed child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
“The local gang that molests and forcefully films children are aided and abetted by an international mafia that sells and promotes CSAM all over the world,” he said, adding that the mafia may have members in the US and India as well.
Sources had also told Voicepk.net that the police had received the objectionable videos at least 10 days before they went viral on social media. However, instead of taking action against the proliferation of CSAM, the police officials accepted a bribe of Rs200,000 and did not lodge an FIR. According to the sources, the police only registered FIRs and formally initiated an investigation once the videos emerged and triggered country-wide outrage.