Pakistan: What is known about the scandal of sexual abuse of children gripping the country?
It could be the biggest scandal of children rape in the country’s history. This weekend, Pakistan has discovered the existence of sordid videos featuring sexually abused nearly 300 children of the same village.
According to reports, the scandal was revealed last Tuesday, after a demonstration calling for justice for the victims which gathered 4,000 people, near the village of Wala Dolay. Last weekend, the media have echoed the emergence of hundreds of sordid videos, featuring about 280 children, mostly under the age of 14, the village of Hussain Khanwala, near Lahore. Children are filmed them while they are violated by one or more men or forced to have sex with each other, said Sara Ahmed Latif, a lawyer representing the victims.
According to The Nation, near 400 of these child pornography videos were seized in the Kasur district. They would have been shot between 2006 and 2014.
WHERE IS THE INVESTIGATION?
Punjab police have made more arrests on Monday, bringing to 12 the number of people detained in connection with the investigation. Ten people were identified from a thirty videos, according to the Daily Times, 25 in all and are suspected of involvement in the case.
According to several reports, they would have allowed the alleged perpetrators to extort money from their victims and their parents. They would indeed threatened to sell locally for 40 rupees. “They made a video of my son in 2011 and we pay the blackmailers since then,” said the mother of one of the alleged victims. But according to one of the alleged attackers arrested, these relationships were granted, the alleged victims have played an active role and no blackmail was exercised over their families. “These videos are genuine, but they were made for fun,” he said.
In an initial report, it concluded last week that the allegations of children sexually abused were “baseless”. Local police chief, Shahzad Sultan, maintains that these are videos of sexual acts between young people “willing” a group of men has turned long ago to have fun. It also considers that these old videos were emerged in mid-July by a local clan to discredit a rival clan as part of a land dispute.
“The police protect criminals, it supports and provided the means to flee the village,” Sara Latif Ahmed told reporters. The Nation goes further, accusing a local politician to have lobbied – and paid a bribe of 5 million rupees – that the police release the main suspect.
WHAT IS KNOWN OF SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN?
Sexuality is taboo in Pakistani society, several local child specialists stressed that victims often remain silent abuses they have suffered for not defile the “honor” of their family by this “shame.”
According Mumtaz Hussain, at Sahil Service, one of the main local NGOs defending the rights of the child, more than 3,500 cases of this type were recorded last year, but the real figure could be 10,000.