Catholics in Pakistan
Arzoo Raja Case

Learning Points: Help spreading awareness against ‘Pedophiles’

Suzanna Joseph

Children are much more likely to be abused by someone they usually know, a neighbor for instance. According to Arzoo Raja’s family Ali Azhar, brought ice cream and candies for Arzoo. Which should have sent alarm signals to the parents. Long before the abduction took place.

Here are some learning points that can help in spreading awareness against ‘Pedophiles’ since we live in a country where there is no law against forced conversion.

DON’T leave your children unattended. Since an unsupervised child is prone to danger. Often in the form of pedophiles. They are pretty much around us all. They know our routine. Including the fact when your child is left alone.

They have adapted to technology as well and so can troll the digital foot print of your child. For instance, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Tik-Tok activities. Knowing your child’s location is not a game of smokes and mirrors for an abductor.

The nightmare does not end here. Once your child, in case of minority, has been forcibly converted and married. The child will be set up for trial. The dates of the case will be postponed until the child turns 18.
Then this child will be returned to the alleged husband. Who in turn can sell her to any racketing mafia for a life of assault.

When a stranger is being nice to your child, he is grooming your child for abuse. Children become prey to a life of forced slavery. As heart wrenching as this is, Arzoo Masih is not a unique case. Huma Younas, aged 14, was abducted last October 2019. Maira Shahbaz, abducted on April 28. It is an endless list of unreported cases, filed as missing.

Also Read: Arzoo Raja | What do parents hope and pray for once they become parents?
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The Human Rights Council of Pakistan has reported that cases of forced conversion are increasing. A 2014 report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) says about 1,000 women in Pakistan are forcibly converted to Islam every year (700 Christian and 300 Hindu).

“There is a major flaw in the law, that is, the marriage is not annulled if the minor’s consent has been given.”

Free Consent [Section 14]

The consent is said to be free when it is not caused by
• Coercion: for instance, creating a blueprint of the victim’s assault and threatening to publicize it
• Undue influence: threatening to murder the victim’s family
• Fraud: signing blank papers so as to copy them on the marriage certificate.

In today’s hearing Arzoo’s consent is an example of forced coercion.

Arzoo Raja was presented before Hon High Court today which in view of the controversy between Arzoo’s statement that she is 18 and NADRA documents which says she is 13 Court has order constituting a medical board to determine age and next date of hearing is 9th Nov.

These forms of consent cannot be challenged. There is no proof except the victim’s tale.

If justice does not prevail it will promote the infestation of pedophiles. Arzoo Masih has got the social media limelight for a few days. After this the news will eventually subside. As in the case of Maira Shahbaz and Huma Younas.

Not only we need more people to stand up and fight for justice, like Jibran Nasir. But we need to curb our society against this evil and be active parents. There is one step each and every one of us can take. Be part of spreading awareness against pedophiles. Be as informed as possible about your child’s digital footprint. Know their friends well enough. DONOT leave them unsupervised under any circumstance.

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