Child pornography in Pakistan

Want to know how serious the government of Pakistan is regarding Child pornography in Pakistan? Well, the punishment of the biggest crime after terrorism is only 7 years in jail and Rs. 0.5 million in fines.

It is becoming apparently clear that Children and their innocence are no more safe in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Child abuse cases in Pakistan are taking alarming proportions that are not just affecting the families and the individuals but are raising a big question on the foundation of our society and the toothless laws that never stand up to protect the weak in the country.

The recent case of Zainab in Kasur is not the first child abuse case as hundreds of such cases have been reported in the last decade. According to the data collected by the non-governmental organization Sahil, around 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported from across Pakistan every day and like every other social issue in Pakistan, we are still after the wrong priorities set by the incompetent government.

Do you know that the draft of the legislation concerning child pornography in Pakistan was first introduced in 2009?

It took the government 7 years and a major child pornography scandal in 2015 to pass a bill in 2016, criminalizing child pornography in the country

Even after the inclusion of the legislation in the Pakistan Penal Code, the biggest question that we still need to ask is whether is that punishment enough? Unlike many other countries around the world, the Child Pornography legislation is not detailed enough to include different scenarios and their respective punishment.

In the US, the first time offender convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce faces fines and a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in prison where convicted offenders may face up to life imprisonment.

In the UK the laws regarding child pornography are even harsher where even the possession of a prohibited image of a child is punishable by up to three years imprisonment. But sadly in Pakistan, either the victim’s family wait all their lives for justice or the police fails to get their hands on the real culprit because let’s face it the real purpose of the police is now providing protocol to the politicians and throw tear gas shells on the protestors in a political rally (as long as they don’t belong to the ruling party).

On Sunday, FIA arrested a man from Jhang who is allegedly involved in downloading and uploading Child pornographic content on the internet. The authorities acted on on a tip by Interpol Canada. The suspect who is an electrical engineer by profession is an alleged member of the group involved in child pornography.

Following this case, FIA, for the very first time in the history of Pakistan has constituted a team to deal with cases pertaining to child sexual abuse and child pornography issues in Pakistan

Though this is a remarkable decision, we still cannot shake the fear that like many other great initiatives by FIA (like cybercrime wings) this will also bite the dust.

Last year, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Interior passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which sought severe punishments for child pornography and sexual abuse of minors in the country but no other progress has been seen on that front.

Right now, we don’t just need strict laws but we also need to talk about the capacity building of parents and teachers who can guide a child about abuse and defence

Child pornography in Pakistan needs to address on an emergency basis and the silence of our parents, teachers, and curriculum will only make it worse as before we can cure ourselves of any disease, we have to accept that we are infected.

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Masoud Ahmed Recent comment authors
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Masoud Ahmed

Minimum punishment in this case must be publically hang till death with full media coverage.