01/16/2018, 14.51
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‘I don’t want to be next’: children protest following Zainab’s rape and murder (Photos)

by Shafique Khokhar

The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation organised a rally in Lahore. Sexual violence against minors is a scourge in Pakistan. A series of proposals is presented to protect defenceless children.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – A rally was held in Lahore to protest against the murder of Zainab, the seven-year-old girl who was killed after being raped and tortured in Kasur (Punjab).

Some of the people who took part in the event – parents and activists – carried banners saying ‘I don’t want to be next”. Protesters called on the authorities to ensure that the culprit be brought to justice as soon as possible, that justice be done for victims and that children are protected.

The rally, which was organised by the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF), was held at the Liberty Market Roundabout, in the capital of Punjab.

People from all walks of life joined the protest to show their opposition to sexual abuse of children, which has become a real scourge in the country.

Zainab’s ghastly and still unsolved murder has caused a wave of outrage across the country. The National Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan also spoke out on the matter, demanding laws and policies to protect children.

“Pakistan has once again failed to protect its children,” said CICF president Michelle Chaudhry. “We are beyond horrified by this brutal incident”.

“This is not the first time that such a horrific act of violence has occurred,” she explained. “We continue to demand the Government ensure the safety and protection of our children.”

“It is pivotal,” she added, “for the authorities to create effective child protection policies that can safeguard and protect every single child across the country.”

To this end, the foundation has released a series of proposals.

One is to strength the Child Protection Bureau. Another is for the government to recognise the need for separate legislation for minors devastated by abuse and rape.

A judicial commission should be established to draft legislation to address the issue of child abuse and pornography.

Government hospitals should set up rehab centres for abused children and their parents, and schools (including madrassas and private institutes) should provide sex education.

Lastly, a horizontal justice system should be set up to facilitate complaints and overcome delays, which favour perpetrators.

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