Following the case of 10-year-old Farishta, who was raped and murdered, celebrities including Mahira Khan, Shehzad Roy and Zeba Bakhtiyar held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday to shed light on the matter of child sexual abuse and the urgent need to overcome it. They were joined by cricketer Younis Khan.
Speaking at the press conference, Mahira said that given the outrage after Zainab’s case, abuse cases should have lessened but they haven’t. Sharing some statistics, Mahira said that most cases often go unreported because of the shame attached to them.
“We are ashamed [of sharing such incidences] because, as children, we are not taught which touch is wrong,” Mahira said.
She then called for spreading awareness on the matter by educating children on abuse and allowing them to discuss it and letting go of the shame.
“Please, when these things are not talked about in your homes, don’t hush your children up… because you can’t even think what those children must be experiencing at the time,” she asserted.
Singer-turned-activist Shehzad Roy was more aggressive on the matter. He raised some serious points of concern and questioned: “Why are children not being taught how to protect themselves? Why isn’t our child protection unit working on making this happen? Why is the social welfare department not active? Why are the police not being trained to handle such cases?”
Shehzad explained that the cycle of abuse starts slowly before getting to a point of no return. He emphasised that we should prevent that point from being reached by being more alert and educating the children.
Zeba Bakhtiar speaking on the issue said that most cases are kept under wraps because of the matter of honour. She called for awareness and unity in order to solve this problem. She further went on to say that Pakistan is supposed to be “an Islamic country” but where is Islam?
Meanwhile, after the press conference, a social media user accused Mahira and others of using “rape cases to promote their agenda” and blamed the showbiz industry for the rise in the cases. Here’s what Mahira had to say to him:
A model court in Multan sentenced Qandeel Baloch’s brother Wasim Azeem to life in prison for murdering his sister. Life imprisonment means 25 years in jail.
The social media star was strangled to death in Multan in July 2016 and her brothers Waseem Azeem and Aslam Shaheen were accused of murdering her. The brothers said that they killed their sister because she brought dishonour to their family and the “Baloch name” with her inappropriate videos and statements. While Waseem was arrested immediately, Aslam, who was accused of urging Azeem to kill Qandeel was arrested in Saudi Arabia this year with the help of Interpol.
Waseem had initially admitted to drugging and killing his sister but later changed his statement. The court had been hearing the case for three years. A high court had dismissed his bail applications twice before. The court had reserved its verdict after the defence and prosecution completed their arguments.
Meanwhile, six others accused in the case, including Mufti Abdul Qavi and Qandeel’s other two brothers Aslam and Arif, were not found guilty. Arif was reportedly the one who instigated Waseem to strangle his sister to death. Mufti Qavi was showered with rose petals as he exited the court.
While Qandeel’s father had initially lodged a murder case against his son Waseem and his accomplices in 2016, he later had filed a petition seeking a pardon for his sons but the court turned it down.
The affidavit said that the Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015, which prevents killers from walking free after being pardoned by the victim’s family, was passed months after Baloch was murdered and cannot be applied to her case.