Chief Minister Buzdar’s press conference, in which he boldly claimed that the suspect behind the abduction, abuse and murder of four minor boys in Kasur has been identified must be taken with a pinch of salt. The last time we believed the state, Imran Ali, the murderer of young Zainab, was practically held up as the sole reason for the abduction and rape of minors in Kasur. He was swiftly hanged, and we were led to believe that the problem of sexual abuse in Kasur was just limited to an isolated an incident. We cannot keep using isolated cases as our own success stories for cheap publicity; the Chief Minister should simply know better.

On this occasion however, we must be smarter. The police claim that the perpetrator can be linked to two of the cases due to DNA evidence – what led to the leap where the police also somehow managed to attach the other two cases to the same suspect as well?

More important than this however, is the fact that the problem of child abuse is not limited to two perpetrators in one district of the country – this is a problem that is embedded deep within society, hidden by our own inability to confront issues of sexual violence. Unless the state looks to address the issue of sexual violence – against minors in particular – we can expect more perpetrators of this sort to keep taking advantage of our propensity to look away.

At the very least, the Prime Minister’s direction to create a mobile app that documents cases of child abuse is a marginally better strategy than the one employed by the CM, however, without the right support, the app in itself will do nothing to prevent further child abuse in the country. Judging by his statement, the PM does realise that the problem is exacerbated by society’s inability to discuss cases of sexual violence against women and children, but the only way to overcome this would be to start a national discussion, something that this app alone cannot do.

What this app does do however, is provide a chance for victims and their families to lodge cases without obvious public scrutiny, but the efficacy of any such venture mostly depends on the police’s ability to handle this as a next step. The government’s measures then, are just one small step in preventing child abuse; greater awareness for families, improved training for the police in both sensitivity and investigation and a national campaign designed to discuss issues of mental health and clamping down on child abuse are all steps that must go hand in hand with any app that is designed to prevent child abuse. It is hoped that the government does not rely on half-measures and looks to go the whole way.