The scale of the Kasur scandal is horrific — 400 videos of some 280 children who were forced to have sex while being filmed — and the manner in which the local police and MP tried to cover it up is depressing.
The tapes that were made were then used to blackmail the parents of the victims into keeping quiet and into giving money to the paedophilia ring. These tapes were also being sold to locals in the town for Rs 50 and even, according to one report, were being sold to paedophile websites overseas.
That it happened for so long — since 2009 — and was kept under wraps and even the media was unaware of it till now is cause for concern.
The local MPA is believed to have covered it up and even used his power and influence to ensure that the local police don’t follow it up and even managed to secure the release — before the scandal came out in the media — of one of the primary accused.
The matter is now being investigated and — mainly because of media pressure (including on social media) — 15 people have already been arrested and charged. The pressure from civil society and the media will have to be vigorous and consistent if we are to ensure that the victims and their families get justice in this case.
The local administration officials, police and especially the area MPA should also be probed under the premise that how could they have not known all this was happening for so long. The state should seek to charge them with deflection of duty at the very least.
Ugly truth revealed
Kasur had revealed the truth about paedophilia in Pakistan and it is an ugly one.
First, that paedophilia is far more prevalent in society than we are willing to admit or recognize.
Second, it is often done in an organized manner and those agents of the state whose job it is to protect citizens and uphold the law such as police and legislators do the very opposite. In the case of Kasur the police actively sought to stifle and muzzle the protests carried out by the victims and even went so far as to arrest the one villager who wanted to expose the scandal to the media.
Third, there is an active market for paedophile paraphernalia especially videos and pictures and it exists in Pakistan. We can either pretend that ut doesn’t exisyexist and continue burying our heads in the sand or we can wake up and see this clear and present danger ro our children and act against it.
Fourth, many of us ignore this activity which may be present in society as a whole. Take the case of the notorious serial killer and paedophile Javed Iqbal who confessed and was convicted of raping and killing over 100 boys in Lahore in the late 1990s. He was caught several times and even sent to jail for sodomy but always managed to get out of jail.
Even when he was eventually caught, it was he who surrendered himself at the offices of Jang in Lahore. Later police found his house in a congested part of Lahore complete with two vats of acid in which he would dissolve his victims bodies after raping and killing them. And all this happened without any of his neighbours even bothering to report him to the police even for suspicious activity let alone murder.
Let’s hope the Javed Iqbala of Kasur get what they deserve. If any deserves to hang at all it should be the perpetrators of such horrific acts.