The Kasur child abuse case keeps getting larger and larger with seven more defendants being taken into custody. According to Pakistan’s Local News Channel Dunya News, at least 24 additional victims have come forward, bringing the total number of victims in Pakistan’s largest sexual abuse case ever to more than 300 children.
Despite some families’ willingness to come forward and testify in the Kasur case, many other victims are holding back in fear of retaliation for speaking up.
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Kasur investigators name more defendants
The Pak Tribune reports that the seven newest suspects are: Abdul Mannan, Khalid, Naseem, Sabir, Umar, Sufiyan, and Rai Basharat. Investigators named them as part of a gang of at least 25 people accused of sexually abusing children. They have recovered more than 400 videos of the abuse. Investigators said they recovered 30 more videos from the seven new suspects.
Officials said they had arrested 12 suspects and were conducting raids to take the rest of the suspects into custody. They also said they were interrogating the suspects who have been arrested so far. The court ruled on Tuesday that authorities may hold the suspects for 28 days while they continue their investigation. Among those being held for the 28 days are Mohammad Yahiya, Saleem Akhtar Sherazi, Waseem Abid, Aleem Asif, and Atiqur Rehman.
Lawyers for the defendants in the Kasur case argued that the government had pressured police into arresting them in the case. There were also arguments about who should head up the case. The defendants’ advocate argued that an ISI officer should lead the investigation and that the team should be made up of agents from other secret agencies. However, officials said that legally, only a police officer could head the Joint Investigation Team, reports the Pak Tribune.
Parents protest in Kasur
Lahore Police offers reportedly told reporters that Kasur police had colluded with the suspects. A police officer also apparently told the media outlet that some of those affected by the massive Kasur case had protested against the station house officer, who remained indifferent. Whenever they approached, however, the officer would allegedly record their images on his mobile phone, and then one of the suspects would allegedly approach them and threaten to upload the videos of their children being sexually abused to the internet.
As a result, many more families whose children have been victimized in the Kasur case remain fearful of approaching authorities to file complaints against the perpetrators, reports the Daily Times. They are especially afraid of the local police station in Kasur. MPA Malik Ahmed Saeed has been accused of using his powers to release one of the top suspects in the Kasur case.
Pakistani government shamed
According to The Express Tribune, Pakistani government officials have tried to keep the issue under wraps because they say it is shameful for them and their country. The law minister of the province in which Kasur was said to claim that the case is soiling Pakistan’s reputation, seeming to say that the nation’s reputation is more important than knowing about the atrocities that have been done to children in Kasur.
As a result, they are trying to mitigate the news and make the story not sound has horrible as it truly is. The post on The Express Tribune accuses some media outlets of making the victims sound like liars. Some reportedly argue that if there were more victims in the Kasur case, they should have come forward. Of course the question here appears to be just how many victims it would take for the case to “matter” to authorities, but anyone who makes such an insensitive argument fails to realize that just a single victim is too many.