–3,881 cases of rape, 1,359 cases of child sexual abuse registered in Punjab in 2019
–Additional IG Inam Ghani says civil society should play an active role to curb crimes instead of blaming police
LAHORE: A massive increase in crime rate was witnessed in 2019 as 3,881 cases of rape, 1,359 cases of child sexual abuse, 1,126 cases of child abuse, 1,758 cases of violence against women, 12,600 cases of kidnapping of women and 197 cases of honour killing were registered in Punjab, putting the authorities to shame.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE:
According to data available with this scribe, in Lahore, the authorities registered 88 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 17 with girls, whereas, in the preceding year, there were 41 cases of child abuse with boys and 22 with girls. Moreover, 106 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 97 with girls were registered in 2019.
The data also revealed the figures for other cities. In Kasur, 75 cases of child abuse and 41 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 10 cases of child abuse and 25 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. In Sheikhupura, 69 cases of child abuse and 52 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 52 cases of child abuse and 31 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. A case of murder after sexual abuse was also registered in the city.
Similarly, in Gujranwala, 42 cases of child abuse and 77 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 4 cases of child abuse and 52 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. A case of murder after sexual abuse was also registered in the city. In Gujrat, 41 cases of child abuse and 22 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas nine cases of child abuse and one case of child sexual abuse with a girl were registered. In Pakpattan, 14 cases of child abuse with boys were registered in 2018 but in 2019, the figure had increased to 55. Meanwhile, four cases of girls being abused were registered in 2019 as well. Cases of child sexual abuse against boys also increased from six in 2018 to 24 in 2019.
In Rahim Yar Khan, a total of 28 child abuse cases against boys and 5 with girls were registered whereas 52 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 17 with girls were registered.
Moreover, one case of the murder of girl after sexual abuse was registered in Vehari, one in Jhang, two in Faisalabad and one in Narowal. Four cases of boys being murdered after being sexually abused were registered in Rawalpindi and one in Lodhran.
According to the data, most honour killing cases during 2019 were registered in Faisalabad where 21 women were killed over honour. 13 cases were registered in Gujranwala, 12 in Rahim Yar Khan, 12 in Lahore, 10 in Mandi Bahauddin, 10 in Gujrat and 5 in Sheikhupura. A total of 197 honour killing cases were registered in the 36 districts of Punjab.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN:
221 cases of violence against women were registered in Lahore, 150 in Vehari, 118 in Okara, 118 in Sargodha, 84 in Rahim Yar Khan, 72 in Pakpattan. The total cases of violence against women in Punjab were 1,758, showing an increase of 197 cases compared to 2018.
KIDNAPPING OF WOMEN:
In the 36 districts of Punjab, 12,600 cases of women’s kidnapping were registered in 2019. 2,852 cases were registered in Lahore, 899 in Faisalabad, 587 in Multan, 548 in Rawalpindi, 493 in Gujranwala, 482 in Rahim Yar Khan and 499 in Okara.
3,881 cases of rape were registered in Punjab in 2018, 581 cases higher than in 2018. 453 cases were registered in Lahore compared to 125 cases in 2018, 380 in Faisalabad, 236 in Muzaffargarh, 196 in Bahawalpur, 195 in Rahim Yar Khan.
ADULTERY AND SUICIDE:
106 cases of adultery were registered in Lahore, 77 in Gujranwala. The total cases of adultery in Punjab were 935. Moreover, two women committed suicide in Attock and one in Hafizabad.
When Punjab Additional Inspector General (Operations) Inam Ghani was asked about the increase in crimes in 2019, he said that that the police focused on complaint redressal during 2019.
“Last year, we registered 403,000 first information reports (FIR) but the public was not happy with us and we understood that people were worried that their cases were not being registered. Therefore, we made a policy to register each and every case, which is why there was an increase in cases in 2019. Many cases related to rape, missing children and violence against women were later withdrawn because they were misreported,” he said.
When asked about the increase in cases of child abuse, he said that the police cannot control these cases because they are reported after the incident. “Children who do not go to school and instead sell things on roads and work elsewhere are often victims to child abuse,” he said, adding that the civil society must play its role to curb these incidents.
When asked about the fear of the law, he said that people do have fear of the law and police but fear alone is not enough to stop child abuse cases. “In the case of Zainab, the convict was hanged to death but such cases continue to appear in Kasur. Neighbours and civil society have an active role to play in this regard. The police cannot verify proofs. Child protection departments need to be strengthened,” he added.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan held several meetings on the matter and we discovered that we do not have an integrated data of crimes. Such a record would be helpful for us to protect the people from rapists because we would have a record of them regardless of where they go. Moreover, we need laws for child molesters similar to what we have for the fourth schedulers who are ordered to inform the police before moving from one place to another,” he further said.
The official said that a National Action Plan has also been prepared by the premier on Zainab Bill which was presented in the parliament and the police have also submitted its comments on because the department believes that such measures are necessary to curb child abuse.
When asked about the increase in rape cases, he said that such cases are filed after the incident and many cases are cancelled after medical tests. “Most rape cases are registered in urban areas and we have suggested to the high-ups that violence against women centres should be established in areas where most cases of rape are registered. Police cannot establish them because of a shortage of funds but what we have done is that in 10 districts, including Lahore, Sargodha and Rawalpindi, we established cells in police stations for the sole purpose of dealing with such cases. If more cases are being registered, this means we are doing our duty with conviction. We want to know the exact situation, therefore, we encourage people to report crimes,” he added.
Child Protection Bureau (CPWB) Chairperson Sara Ahmed, while commenting on the increase in child abuse cases, said that the bureau did not the mandate to handle such cases but it was still playing its role to curb such cases. “We are voluntarily doing this service. As per our mandate, we deal with children who beg on the streets and if authorities want us to handle child abuse cases, the Punjab Home Department should amend our Act,” she said.
Commenting on the cases of violence against women, Punjab Women Protection Authority (PWPA) Chairperson Kaneez Fatima said, “We are establishing violence against women centre in Lahore and its PC-1 is under preparation. This centre will soon be established and according to the premier’s vision, we will work for victims and strengthen them.”