What is achieved by arresting random persons and maltreating them?
Gangs of sex criminals have sexually abused both children and adults in Kasur for at least as far back as 2009. The acts of abuse are recorded, and families of the victims blackmailed and forced to pay money to stop those tapes from being sold in this country and overseas. Many tapes are sold regardless. To add insult to injury it appears that these groups operate not in spite of law enforcement agencies but with their blessings, with patrons in political circles. Hundreds of children have suffered from this abuse for several years by now.
It is sacrilegious that such things should happen – and particularly in Kasur, the home and burial place of the Sufi saint Bulleh Shah – but they do. Kasur is also the twentieth most populous city in Pakistan.
In 2015 a police official was arrested. In this case his victim was not a child but a married woman who was drugged and raped. She was then blackmailed with the threat of making recordings of the rape public. When the woman informed the police the rapist fired shots at her house to force her to withdraw her complaint.
Also in 2015, two pedophiles were arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
While it is good that an example was made of these men, all this is obviously just the tip of the iceberg.
Some weeks ago the body of a five year old child was found in an under construction house in Kasur. She had been missing for four days, taken away from the street in front of their house. A post mortem revealed the little girl had been raped before being murdered.
When the fact that there are gangs abusing children and blackmailing their families was exposed some years ago, there was a public outcry. There was also a public outcry at the revelation that the police and public officials were supporting this abuse. As a result, when the body of that five year old child was discovered in the under construction house there appears to have been a swift reaction. Families residing in Kasur have spoken of men being taken into custody at random. Hundreds of men appear to have been detained, some for weeks. They were beaten, and released, and others taken into custody, in what is obviously the response of officials keen to be ‘seen doing something’ about the problem.
This is what happens when there is no prescribed procedure for dealing with problems, or when a prescribed procedure is put aside. In an attempt to appease the public, officials indulge in such mindless ‘visible’ acts that make it seem as though ‘something is being done.’ You see it on the roads when there is a terror threat, when barriers are suddenly put up resulting in traffic jams hundreds of yards long. It is unclear what these barriers achieve since all that is done is that motorbikes containing men or boys are stopped and their documents scrutinised. What this tells anyone is unclear. What does, for example, a security man at the CSD find when he stops someone and glances at her identity card? Can he tell if that is a ‘wanted’ number? Can he tell if it’s a fake card? Why would a terrorist be so insane as to use a wanted number or an obviously fake card? In the case of road blocks, women are generally peered at and waved through. Are women incapable of carrying out terrorist attacks? Why would terrorists employ only young, lower middle class males (excuse the stereotyping) on motorbikes to carry out their schemes? They’re terrorists, not fools.
So, going back to Kasur, what is arresting random persons and beating the bejesus out of them before letting them go likely to achieve? Would it not be a better idea to trace incriminating videos from sale point to source, meticulously, and discretely? Or to follow leads and reports, because people have reported rape, blackmail and other such crimes, to follow those leads diligently and doggedly to some conclusion? This, if anyone remembers, is what the police is supposed to do, when it is genuinely keen to do something.
And most of all, would it not be an idea to make an example of criminals by sentencing them when they are located, so that others fear to tread where these people have gone? This is what justice is supposed to achieve.
Gangs and individual criminals proliferate like rats, in places that are considered to be congenial. This is not entirely the fault of the public but equally the fault of law enforcement, political and administrative officials. In any case there is a procedure by means of which a person may be apprehended and questioned. If this is not followed, and an Al-Ghraib like atmosphere is being created in a city in response to crimes which are providing some kind of perceived reason for such response – there is something seriously wrong with the laws and procedures of the country in which such things take place.