Missing children and rising confusion 


What is the sitting government waiting for?

Six hundred children – kidnapped, abused and tortured. Six hundred young minds – afflicted, mortified and tormented. Six hundred families – distressed, wretched and probably never going to be the same again. Why doesn’t this call for a state of emergency in our country? Why hasn’t the sitting Prime Minster yet addressed the nation to assure them that the state is going to do everything in its power to rectify this- if this can ever be rectified. Why does the it take for the Chief Justice to issue a suo moto notice to make the government treat this matter as a priority?

Has the government really become this apathetic that nothing expect for protection of its own thrown matters. Inability to provide even the basic necessities of life and to protect the people of the country points towards the glaring incompetence of the sitting government. Part of it stems from the unfitness of the politicians to do the job that they are elected to do so and part of it comes from our so-called political leadership’s response to crisis. In the face of trouble, instead of taking the time to analyse the situation and formulate an informed strategy to tackle the issue, our politicians resort to discredit and downplay the news. More often than not, our politicians are seen following the child like mantra of ‘I will cover me eyes so you can’t see me either’.  Alas, it is indeed easier said than done. When hundreds of families are losing their children due to the security failure of the state, it is impossible to adopt our politicians-like detachment and pretend that everything is okay. I sometimes wonder how long will it take for our so-called leadership to realise that we can never begin to effectively work towards the solution of a problem when we consistently persist on the problem’s non-existence.

In the absence of a leadership vacuum and a coherent approach to solve problems, we see an immense amount of confusion building up in the public which adds to their anxiety and distress. There are many theories circulating for the reason why these children are abducted and each is more horrible than the other. Justice Saqib Nisar weighed in on the issue said that “it has been highlighted that such abductions are orchestrated with the nefarious object of extracting vital body organs of the abductees; while another attribution is for sexual abuse and / or beggary etc. through the children. That in any case such large scale abduction, if so, of children in a short span of time is a matter of immense concern and alarm.” It is only natural to question who would be involved in such a heinous crime and why has there been a sudden surge in the kidnappings. Pointing towards this Punjab’s Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that there is a possibility of the involvement of intra-provincial and intra-district gangs in the kidnapping of children. He said that “these gangs have offshoots in other provinces where they operate from.” This stands in sharp contrast to the statement given by the Inspector General of Punjab Police, Mushtaq Ahmad Sukherha, who blamed the media for blowing the matter out of proportion and claimed that kidnapping of children was not a serious issue. He believed that the children were running away form home due to their parent’s harsh attitudes towards them. Even if this were true, it is beyond me how hundreds of children fleeing away from home due to abuse is NOT a serious issue. Our country doesn’t have a functional support system to help and protect run-away children and hence, these children at left at the mercy of the streets of the country. However, anyone who has lived in Pakistan knows that as dark falls, our streets become absolutely unsparing and ruthless.

Meanwhile, in the light of these contradicting assertions and the absence of a national awareness campaign, the grieving parents are left to wonder whether their child ran away from home or was abducted for beggary, ransom or trafficking. The blatant refusal of the police to admit that there is a problem of child abduction comes as a surprise since it was only last year that the Kasur child sexual abuse scandal had emerged. If it was not for the hundreds of videos of children performing forced sex acts the authorities would have most probably also tried to sweep the issue under the rug. Unfortunately, we as a nation has failed to learn from our mistakes. It has been a year and the bitter reality is that our cities are no safer for the children then they were before. One would have a been a little more hopeful about the use of installation of the helpline for reporting of missing children if they had not known the outcome of these on-the-surface, immediate knee jerk reactionary actions undertaken by the government in the past.

When millions of rupees of taxpayers’ money can be spent on political advertisements, it is preposterous when not even a fraction of it is spent to educate the people about the development of such a grave issue and to put them out of their misery and confusion. It is upon the sitting government to mobilise the requisite channels to ascertain the reason behind the kidnapping of children – no matter what the figures are. More so, no reason should be used as an acceptable excuse for hundreds of children to run away from home so that the authorities can (yet again) absolve themselves of all responsibility.



  1. Great summery of the issue. In Lahore parents are noy letting their children go out and play, let alone go anywhere alone. It is real and the govt needs to acknowledge and deal with it urgently

  2. end of the day children need to be protected , its an evil world we are leaving in , my heart goes out for poor vulnerable children not only in pakistan but acrorss the world its a wake upcall for every one !

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