- The police shows how unreformed it is
The murder of three little boys after they were criminally assaulted, and their bodies being found only after, and by passers-by, traumatised the people of Chunian enough for them to launch a violent protest on Wednesday. The only reaction of the government was to suspend the local DSP and SHO, even though the events had shown a massive failure of the administration at virtually all levels. Even now, it should be recognised, the killer or killers are still at large. The police seems engaged in an internal blame game rather than on the manhunt it needs to catch the gang.
One of the more tragic aspects seems to be that the district, Kasur, was the scene of two of the most high-profile sex crime cases in the country in recent years. Only a year ago, the rape-cum-murder of little Zainab, led to a massive manhunt involving hundreds of policemen and the forensic resources of the entire province, and led to the apprehension of the killer, who was then tried and executed. Just before that, a child pornography ring had been nabbed, though there have been no convictions. Such traumatic events should have led to a smooth and practised institutional response. Instead, it seems that the more basic institutional responses, those of the Punjab police, were made. For example, the little boys had been disappearing one after the other from July, but the local police seems to have done what the police does in cases of disappearance: ignore the matter. This appears of a piece with what has emerged after the autopsy of Salahuddin Ayyubi, the mentally challenged man whose antics while trashing a Faisalabad ATM went viral, and who died in the custody of the Rahim Yar Khan police. The autopsy showed that he had been severely beaten before death.
The Punjab government in the Zainab case may have had many faults, but at least it showed it was concerned. The air of unconcern in Lahore shows that either the PTI has given up on trying to reform the police, or is almost blindingly insensitive in thinking that a difference has been made. Not one child has been murdered this time, but three. The Punjab government must know that the police would take more care with this case if it showed more concern.