In the wake of the sexual assault and murder of 6-year-old Zainab in Kasur, members of the National Assembly urged the house to draft legislation to ensure protection of children in the country during a Parliament session on Thursday
Speaking to the Parliament, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah termed the Kasur incident a failure on part of the government. He claimed that the government had not taken appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the citizens.
Shah said that the Parliament must pressure the government to do its job and protect the people. He also said that child abuse is not only limited to Kasur, but is widespread throughout the country.
“How long will mothers have to accompany their daughters everywhere?” he asked. “It is the duty of the government to provide security to all citizens.”
In response, PML-N’s Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha urged the members of assembly not be politicised. He asked for the house to come together and pass an effective legislation to curb sexual crimes against children.
He admitted that such incidents are widespread, saying that this prevalent problem in society must be tackled. He added that even though politicians believe their politics is based on principles, they often ignore crimes that are committed in their own constituencies.
“We should remember what happens in KP, in Sindh, in Gilgit Baltistan, in Balochistan,” he said. “Instead of politicising this event, we should focus on passing effective laws to curb these crimes.”
Ranjha called for public execution of those responsible for such crimes and suggested that sexual crimes be made a part of the Anti-Terrorism Act. He emphasised that problems in the legal system must be addressed as well.
He was followed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari who lashed out at the Punjab government.
“This is the 12th such case in the area. Police had leads, they had a DNA match in at least five cases and yet, no action was taken to arrest the culprit,” she said.
“Why didn’t the Punjab government take action when they knew that a serial rapist and killer was in the area?”
She also criticised Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah’s statement who had said that “a child’s safety is the parents’ responsibility”.
“This is the most callous statement that an official can give,” she claimed, adding that not only did the police fail to arrest the culprit, they also shot at protesters who came out on the streets to demand justice.
“We will have to drag the government into this issue,” she insisted. “People don’t trust the government anymore. Every time there is a tragedy, they turn to the army for help.”
She called on the Parliament to pass a law that effectively deals with the issue, instead of “merely passing resolutions”. She also stressed on the need for creating awareness about assault among children and teaching them protective measures.
The PPP had submitted an adjournment motion to the National Assembly Secretariat, demanding a debate on the recent incident in Kasur and other cases of sexual violence against children.
Shah, on Thursday, had demanded resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for their failure to prevent abduction and killing of girls in Kasur.
Condemning the killing of the two protesters reportedly by the firing of police in Kasur, he had also asked that action be taken against officials involved in the incident.
6-year-old Zainab’s abduction and sexual assault before being strangled was the 12th such incident in Kasur in one year. The incident has sparked countrywide protests, with people demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.