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Return to Kasur

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EARLIER this week, the body of a six-year-old girl was recovered from a garbage heap in Kasur. It has since been confirmed that she was raped and murdered. Kasur has erupted in riots. The autopsy report is unreadable.

In moments of human horror, we turn to the facts. And the facts tell us that Zainab’s case isn’t a onetime tragedy, but a recurring national nightmare, one we could have woken up from three years ago.

In 2015, as everyone knows, the same Kasur saw a child sex abuse scandal of staggering proportions: reports of hundreds of victims and hundreds of video clips. When the details bled into the headlines — spinal injections, sodomy, a network of paedophiles filming the abuse — there was outrage.

But the state took the same road it had taken before, and would soon take again. Kasur flared up in protest, as it did now. A police officer was suspended, as he was now. The chief minister of Punjab took strict notice, as he did now. And his office threw together an inquiry committee, as it did now.

It would seem there are only two modes of operation in Kasur: slumber and sadism.

Only in 2015, the committee said “no instance” of child sex abuse had been reported — per the Punjab government, the issue at hand was a land dispute.

This ran contrary to the findings of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which found that a large number of children had not only been abused, the police may have intimidated the victims when the scandal became public. It also ran contrary to the findings of the National........

© Dawn