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Majority of minors abused in Punjab are boys: report

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  • 55% perps were victims’ neighbours, 13% relatives, 32% strangers.
  • Gujranwala reports most incidents from Jan-July 2023.
  • Rawalpindi and Lahore reported the lowest rape cases.

LAHORE: In a shocking revelation, the Punjab interior department has recently shared that as the instances of sexual abuse of children rise, more boys than girls become victims of such crimes.

A report compiled on the numeration of such cases from January to June 15, 2023, reveals that in a span of less than six months, 1,390 cases of child abuse were reported in the province — a harrowing number in itself but made worse by further revelations.

According to the report, around 69% (959 cases) of the reported cases involved minor boys, while the remaining 31% (431 cases) involved girls.

Yet more disturbing were revelations of the perpetrators.

Moreover, the report stated that of those facing trials, 55% were the victims’ neighbuors, 13% were relatives, and 32% were strangers.

Regarding the city-wise prevalence of child abuse cases, the report stated that most rape cases in Punjab were registered in Gujranwala, where 220 cases were reported.

Rawalpindi and Lahore reported the lowest rape cases at 69 and 89, respectively.

Furthermore, DG Khan reported 199 incidents; Faisalabad 186; Multan 140; Bahawalpur 129; Sheikhupura 128; Sahiwal 127; and Sargodha 103.

Causes of rise in child abuse

According to the report, child sexual abuse is influenced by a range of social factors in Pakistan, and patriarchal norms, power imbalances, poverty, illiteracy and social inequalities contribute to the vulnerability of the children.

Former National Child Rights Commission (NCRC) chairperson Afshan Tehseen seconds this. In a conversation with Geo.tv, she said that the prevalence of child abuse was caused directly by poverty.

Several people from poor backgrounds have no qualms about sending their children to work, many for merely one meal a day, she said, adding that the more such vulnerable children are exposed, the more likely they are to be exploited.

Moreover, she said that the rise in the number of male victims could be attributed to the fact that many households are already protective of their girls; boys, however, have more mobility in society, resulting in an increased probability of exploitation.

Additionally, the report stated that victim-blaming attitudes and a lack of awareness about child rights compounded the challenges faced in addressing and preventing such crimes.

Addressing the problem

While the report enumerates several steps taken by governments to address child sexual abuse — such as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2016, the Prevention of Child Abuse Act of 2018 and the Zainab Alert, Response, and Recovery Act 2020 — it points out that effective implementation, enforcement, and coordination among relevant agencies are crucial to ensure justice for victims and punishment for the perpetrators.

1) Sensitising Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB)

The report suggested that the CPWB, inter alia — the primary stakeholders for the protection of the children — be further sensitised and directed to be more active because of the prevailing situation.

“It should have a dedicated team of the professionals and the motivated officials including the child protection officers, psychologists, law officers and doctors for the protection of the children from abuses and rehabilitation of the victims”, the report recommended.

2) Comprehensive approach

The report further stressed the need for a comprehensive mechanism for coordination among the various major stakeholders, including police, parents, CPWBs and other relevant federal and provincial agencies.

3) Sensitisation, capacity building

Another recommendation shared by the report includes the sensitisation and capacity building of the stakeholders and staff of relevant agencies through training programmes.

These programmes could be conducted for professionals working with the children, such as teachers, healthcare providers, law-enforcement agencies’ personnel and social workers, to enhance their skills in identifying the signs of abuse, responding sensitively and providing appropriate support.

4) Awareness campaigns

The report urged the importance of awareness campaigns on social and entertainment avenues and recommended that such campaigns be conducted on print and electronic media to educate the masses.

5) Coordination between helplines

The reports also strongly suggested that all helplines at the provincial level be coordinated and that the domestic violence helpline 1099 be linked with the police department.

6) Establishing a database

“A database of abducted/missing children should be developed for analysis and policy recommendations,” the report stated.

7) Reviewing existing apparatus

“National and provincial legislatures need to review the existing child protection laws while reforming the existing apparatus,” the report stated, adding that the government establish special courts for child abuse cases and enhance the capacity and training of law-enforcement agencies and judicial system to handle such cases effectively.

It further proposed a review of the role of the human rights ministry, stating: “The ministry should play its role to revamp the national child protection centre to identify, prevent and report issue of child abuse”, the report states.

8) Holistic support services

The report also added that there was a need for holistic support services, including counseling, medical assistance, legal aid and rehabilitation programmes.

These programmes, it stated, must be made available to the child survivors and their families to aid their recovery and reintegration into society.

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US envoy urges deeper strengthening of relations with Pakistan

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The significance of strengthening relations with Pakistan was highlighted by US Ambassador Donald Blome on Thursday.

Blome visited the Chaukhandi cemetery in Karachi, based on the information. President Donald Blome and other delegates were cordially welcomed by Sindh Minister of Culture and Tourism Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah on this particular occasion.

Narendra Kumar, Heather Murphy, and Zahra Hajiani were among the delegation members who visited Chaukhandi Graveyard’s historic tombs with the American envoy, Acting Consul General Jimmy Mauldin.

Highlighting the rich historical significance of Chaukhandi graveyard, Minister Zulfiqar Ali Shah shared his ideas with the US ambassador.

Blome highlighted the Chaukhandi tombs for their exquisite craftsmanship and architectural design. He promised to help Pakistani visitors with their visa requirements.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), he promised to promote the nation’s historical sites.

In the meantime, Shah stated, “The Sindh government is taking steps to provide all sorts of facilities to the tourists.”

Pakistan will receive additional assistance from the US to lower methane gas emissions.

The US decided to help Pakistan lower its methane gas emissions earlier this month.

At a USAID Climate Financing event, US Ambassador Blome stated: “We are working very hard to lower methane gas emissions from dairy farming. The Green Climate Fund in Pakistan will be consulted for funding this initiative.”

“As of 2030, there are global efforts to reduce the temperature by 1 degree Celsius. The US-Pakistan Green Alliance is being followed by the collaboration with Pakistan, according to Blome.

“The problems can only be addressed by providing the stakeholders with financial and technical resources,” he continued.

The government’s first aim is to revitalise the cattle industry, according to Federal Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam. Raising dairy farming’s production capacity will help it overcome its environmental problems.”

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Shehbaz travels to the UAE in order to strengthen trade relations.

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This visit, which is being accompanied by a high-level delegation made up of important ministers such as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Commerce Minister Jam Kamal, Information Minister Ataullah Tarar, and advisor Tariq Fatemi, is intended to strengthen bilateral ties and expand cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sharif will visit President Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. The high-level gathering will cover Pakistani and UAE bilateral relations, with an emphasis on commerce and investment.

Along with exploring strategic alliances and shared interests that can help their respective nations, they are also expected to concentrate on talking about ways to advance collaboration across a range of industries.

Prime Minister Sharif has talks planned with other Emirati leaders, businesspeople, and heads of financial organisations in addition to his diplomatic engagements. In an effort to promote economic cooperation and draw in investment, he is also scheduled to meet with businessmen and investors from Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The Shehbaz intends to encourage UAE companies to extend their operations into the Pakistani market by interacting with influential businesspeople and highlighting investment prospects in Pakistan.

These exchanges will offer a forum for talking about doable ways to strengthen business relations and carry out initiatives that will benefit both parties. Pakistan’s determination to enhance its political and economic ties with the United Arab Emirates is demonstrated by the visit.

After ending his day-long journey to Iran to offer condolences for the terrible death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan.

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Memon accuses temporary government of ‘delaying’ the BRT Red Line project

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On Thursday, Sindh Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon accused the interim administration of “delaying” the Red Line project of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Memon stated what he thought, saying, “The BRT Red Line project was mission impossible. However, the project has now begun to be worked on.”

“The reason government is formed is to solve the issues that the people face. “The government is working tirelessly to bring relief to the masses,” he declared.

Memon declared, “It’s also being done about the unlawful bus stands. The passengers will have access to shuttle service from us.”

“A large number of transport projects have already begun. “We aim to ensure that every individual receives a chance to work,” he continued.

Pakistan was ‘started to damage’ by the founder of PTI.

Memon reported on Thursday that a campaign to hurt the nation was started by the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Memon said at a Karachi event: “Israel discusses the human rights violations in Pakistan. Israel, a party to the Palestinian holocaust, is endorsing the PTI’s founder. Israel has provided election funding to the PTI’s founder.”

“The worst election tampering in 2018 produced the PTI founder’s victory. Police officers, the parliament, and the PTV were all attacked,” he claimed.

“The entire country was closed due to a 126-day protest,” Memon claimed.

The PTI founder was made fun of by Memon, who said, “The PTI founder had always embraced the politics of anarchy.”

Memon stated the following when discussing the state of law and order in Sindh: “The Sindh government is serious about the state of law and order in the province. In terms of keeping Sindh peaceful, everyone is in agreement.”

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