What's Pakistan's definition of child abuse?

Delhi Feb 07, 2020, 07.44 PM(IST) Written By: WION

Hindu girl allegedly forcibly converted in Pakistan. Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

A court in Pakistan said that men can marry underage girls as long as they have reached their menstrual age.

Pakistan has seen two very disturbing developments this week, its Parliament passed a resolution demanding public hanging of child abusers

This is a violation of the United Nations rule, but the majority of Pakistan's Parliamentarians backed it.

A court in Pakistan said that men can marry underage girls as long as they have reached their menstrual age. The court was hearing a case of forced conversion.

A 14-year-old catholic girl was abducted, forcefully converted and married to a Muslim man. The court said, "The marriage was valid because the girl already had her first period."

According to these developments in Islamabad, it's not a crime when a child is forced to marry her abductor, but child abusers should be hanged in public.

This raises some serious concerns - does Pakistan have a different definition of child abuse for minorities? Or is the system confused?

Child abuse is a haunting reality of Pakistan. In 2018, the case of a 6-year-old girl shocked the world - her rape and murder led to massive protests.

The data is chilling. In 2018, Pakistan reported over 3,800 cases of crimes against children. There were over 900 cases of abduction, 452 cases of missing children, over 500 cases of rape, almost 600 cases of sodomy, over 300 cases of attempted rape and 130 cases of child marriages.

In short, every day there are at least 12 cases of crime against children, and these are only the ones that are reported and registered.

56 per cent of the victims are girls and 44 per cent boys. It seems the country is not even thinking of preventive measures.

It only wants a gory spectacle, the public hanging of convicts. The Parliamentary resolution referred to the Zainab Ansari case.

But the parliamentarians forgot something. Zainab's rapist too was executed and it did not stop the rape of young girls and boys.