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Cities for children

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The New Urban Agenda, to which Pakistan is a signatory, ensures a safe urban environment “without fear of violence and intimidation, taking into consideration that women and girls, and children and youth, and persons in vulnerable situations are particularly affected”.

The brutal rape and killing of eight-year-old Zainab in Kasur has exposed the extreme vulnerability of children, the women and the disabled in our cities. In this connection, the middle and small cities seem to be as exposed as the mega urban centres. The eruption of violence in its aftermath puts a question mark on the state’s ability to meet the governance challenges in the complex and rapid urbanisation process currently going on in this part of the world. Even though the organised crime and mafias are at loose in metropolitan areas, street crime and societal repression is on the rise in towns and small cities as they expand in size and population.

The media, politicians and the public are expressing their concerns about the escalation of such incidents across the country. Some are taking it as individual acts, which must be dealt with ‘exemplary punishment’ while others see it with a political lens and blame the government for the crisis of governance. A few others are also lamenting the breakdown of moral values in a ‘terminally ill society’. The overall social sentiment is of disappointment on the performance of law enforcing agencies........

© Daily Times