=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 17: Around 1,595 children were abus
ISLAMABAD, Jan 17: Around 1,595 children were abused, kidnapped or exposed to extreme violence last year in the country, more than double the figure compared to the year before, a report released here on Thursday said.
According to the Centre for Missing Children’s report, 617 children were abused, kidnapped or subjected to extreme violence in 2006. But, the situation deteriorated further in 2007.
The centre is a project of the Karachi-based Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid, which is funded by the UK-based organisation, Save the Children. The data is based on cases reported in newspapers.
“This is just a tip of the iceberg. In fact, 90 per cent of such cases are never reported in Pakistan,” head of the centre Akbar Zia Awan told Dawn.
The report said that police recovered only 52 of the 189 children that went missing last year, a success ratio of just 28 per cent.
He said the actual number of such children ran into thousands. In fact, families seldom report such cases to police and instead bargain on their own with kidnappers and criminals. He said reporting cases of child sexual abuse to police were still considered a taboo and added that the number of such cases was in the thousands.
Last year, 1,062 children had been abused, 327 were kidnapped and 189 children went missing. The category of abused children includes those who were murdered, raped, sodomised or forced to become part of an arm conflict.
Mr Awan said police were under equipped, lacked inspiration and did not have any plan to gather data on missing children or the ones being abused. Most of the time, police only get to know about the missing children only when they are recovered through efforts of their own families.
He said that data showed that in Karachi, the number of girls raped over the last few years was almost equal to the number of boys sodomised, but the law-enforcement agencies did nothing to control the situation.