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Hussain Khanwala- A largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan

The largest scandal of child abuse in Hussain Khanwala village of Pakistan filled the village with darkness. Three years ago, the largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan’s history devastated this rural Punjabi village.

It is less than 20km from where seven-year-old Zainab Ansari was raped and murdered in January.

 Just after a month, the main suspect named as Mohammad Imran Ali who is also accused of several other sexual assault cases and killings was sentenced to death.

According to the reports, Ansari’s rape and murder was the 12th such case in Kasur district. This incident has ignited widespread violent protests as Pakistanis blamed the authorities for failing to protect children.

Ansari’s story has brought back painful memories.

There are various painful memories which brought back to this Ansari case. For instance, In 2015, the Nation newspaper reported that a gang running a pedophile and pornography ring assaulted more than 280 children, extorting significant sums from family members by threatening to “dishonor” them through releasing videos of their young relatives being assaulted and forced to perform sex acts.

There were around 400 videos which were discovered. The Nation said that these were sold for around 50 Pakistani rupees ($0.45) each.

Several victims fled the village. Many had been manipulated into feeling ashamed. Others were frustrated by an apparent lack of justice. But there are some who still wait for. The victims said the atrocities were carried out between 2006 and 2014.

As per the Nations report “One of the victims said he was injected in the spine with a drug before he was assaulted,”.

However, Malik Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh, an inspector who led police investigations at the time, denies that 280 children were assaulted.

He also said that about 400 videos were found and 35 young victims fled. He says the number of children assaulted is just closer to 20.

The kind of vulgar questions that are asked…..

Local council chairman Mobeen Ghaznavi said when the story of child abuse broke, families of the village were blacklisted by people in surrounding areas. This is in terms of being approached for marriage proposals.

 He also said, those who do not understand the details of the legal system are purposely pressured in court. The kind of vulgar questions that are asked, and asked with such force in the hope of intimidation, end up succeeding in confusing the witnesses, victims and petition filers.

A Lahore-based lawyer “Feisal Naqvi, who continues to work on the Hussain Khanwala cases also reported. According to him judicial system was “overwhelmed”.

At the same time, he also said, “the system is so open to abuse and so choked with frivolous allegations.

Due to this the police often deal with complaints informally, sometimes for the better but also quite often in a corrupt manner“.

This situation must be improved and better measures should be taken by the Pakistani authorities to curb the devastating situation.

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