KARACHI: An organised criminal gang based in Punjab has likely been behind the recurring incidents of elopement of underage girls from Karachi.
Sindh Women Development Minister Syeda Shehla Raza said this on Tuesday while addressing a press conference. She remarked that despite several requests made by the Sindh government, the Punjab police had been avoiding action against the suspected gang because it had the backing of influential persons.
She also voice her suspicion that the criminal gang that had been luring the underage girls of Karachi into childhood marriage was involved in international human trafficking.
She said that her suspicion had become stronger after meeting a family from the C-1 area of Liaquatabad whose daughter had gone missing in 2002. “No way a thin, lean boy alone could make a girl elope with him as certainly influential persons have been involved in this activity to bring her to Punjab,” she said.
Lambasting the Punjab police, Shehla said that sheer indifference shown by them in recovering the two underage girls from Karachi — Dua Zehra and Nimra Kazmi — had made her think that police officials and IGP of the neighbouring province didn’t have their own daughters. “Therefore, they didn’t feel any urgency at all to come to the rescue of the concerned parents from Karachi who wanted the immediate recovery of their minor daughters.”
The women development minister said the inaction of the Punjab Police in these cases had been beyond comprehension as YouTubers and Tiktokers had easily accessed the two missing underage girls. “Now after the passage of so many days, they have informed that one of the missing girls has gone to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.”
She added that the Punjab IG had been completely indifferent to the sufferings of the parents of Nimra who had been in Punjab along with the investigation officer of the case but despite being driven from pillar to post, they did not get any relief.
She remarked that the lamentable role of the Punjab police in the two cases had made her realise that there were always valid reasons whenever an IGP was changed in the neighbouring province.
“Now we will see the action of the KP police in this case [as one of the girls has reportedly gone there from Punjab] as we earlier heard that many reforms have been adopted there to improve the working of police,” Shehla said.
She added that the Punjab police had no regard at all for the law of their own province where a girl should attain the minimum age of 16 before marriage. She also bemoaned the fact that the Punjab police did not spring into action to recover the two girls despite the Sindh chief minister and home secretary contacting their high-ups for the purpose.
She warned the authorities of Punjab and KP to ensure the safe recovery of the two girls by May 30, 2022, or else Sindh would come up with a firm strategy to do the needful. “We will go and sit on the roads of Punjab and KP or else go to any extent to make sure that these girls are recovered as being the relevant minister and a mother, I have to ensure the protection of all the underage girls in Sindh.”
She also appealed to the content creators associated with the social media platforms to avoid exploiting such sorrowful incidents for their own commercial gains, and contact the relevant authorities if they had any valuable information that could help resolve such cases.