ANOTHER crime of bestial violence against a child has taken place, this time in Karachi. On Wednesday, a sixyear-old was found brutally raped and murdered after she went missing three days ago. The child had been subjected to horrific sexual violence, possibly by more than one individual. An hours-long protest by her relatives and political workers was held on the National Highway and called off only when a senior police official assured them that all those responsible would be arrested.
Two men, both neighbours of the victim, have been detained by the police for interrogation on information provided by witnesses.
There was a hue and cry after the January 2018 rape-murder of young Zainab Ansari in Kasur, a crime shocking enough to shake society out of its apathy and encourage some soul-searching.
What had we become that the most vulnerable amongst us could be targeted in this manner and her life snuffed out so cruelly? There were also of course inevitable calls for hanging the perpetrator publicly, something that a civilised polity cannot possibly countenance. When the police zeroed in on the killer, DNA evidence established that he had earlier killed at least seven other children, indicating that the police did their job properly only after public pressure came to bear on them following Zainab`s murder. That crime became the catalyst for the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act, which enhances the punishment for offenders and aims to coordinate efforts to trace the victims. It also made it mandatory for the police to register an FIR for such a crime within two hours of it being brought to their notice. However, thus far little more than lip service has been paid to implementing the law. It is only when the police investigate each case thoroughly, when legislators ensure the law is applied, and a sex offenders` registry is set up, that we can take paedophiles off the streets and keep our children safe.