Pakistan: A National Security State that cannot protect its children

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The primary duty of any state is to its citizens, especially eh most vulnerable, including children. A 2022 report by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan described the country as a “source, transit and destination country for trafficking”. This appears to be no exaggeration.

 

The recent incident of a 14-year-old girl who was abducted and sold thrice before being able to escape her captors and return home is not new. In February 2022, Punjab police stated that 151 girls and young women, all abducted from Sargodha, had been recovered from various parts of the province in just one month alone.

 

Sindh High Court has directed the interior ministry to form a JIT to thoroughly investigate the issue of child trafficking. However, as an editorial in Dawn asks, “what does it say about our child protection laws and other relevant legislation” if this happens with such frequency across the country!

 

It is about time that “the criminal justice system came to grips with the terrible things happening to our minors and took proactive steps to prevent these crimes and support the victims. It has been seen in far too many cases of alleged child abduction and forced marriage of minors that courts do not probe deep enough to ascertain the truth, leaving the victims vulnerable to further abuse and sexual exploitation.

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Author: K.M. Rizvi