LAHORE - Families of abducted children are “losing hope” as police investigators are unable to trace the whereabouts of over 140 children in the Punjab province.

Police discovered mutilated bodies of two boys from Lahore during the last couple of weeks but investigators are still groping in the dark, with no arrest and no clue about the killers.

The large-scale child abductions have triggered panic and fear among parents and communities. The parents are being advised by the provincial government to keep your kids under your own supervision.

Interestingly, the police department denies the involvement of any criminal gang in the appalling incidents of child abductions. Senior officers insist that the recent incidents of child abductions are not inter-connected and such cases are taking place separately.

Relatives of at least eight children told The Nation yesterday that they were not hopeful about the recovery of their kids because of the “rude and rough” attitude of the investigators.

Lahore’s investigation police unit has failed to make any breakthrough in the killing of two young boys who were discovered dead after being sexually assaulted by unidentified killers. The mutilated body of a teenage boy was discovered from Lahore’s Batapur area last month.

Cops were yet to ascertain the identity of the victim who was found murdered near Kherra Bridge. Initial investigations suggested the youth was stabbed and brutally tortured to death by more than two persons.

Almost a month ago, one of the abducted children was found stuffed in a plastic bag from a drain located in the same Badami Bagh locality. The victim was named by police as Muhammad Umair, son of Shabbir Ahmed.

Local police registered a murder case against unknown killers and launched the investigations but no arrest has been made yet. Police are treating the horrific killings as blind murders.

According to a recent report, the investigators are unable to trace the whereabouts of at least nine other children who were abducted from the low-income areas of the provincial metropolis this year. City police registered nine separate cases of kidnappings but investigators have failed to trace the whereabouts abducted children. Two of the eleven victims are young girls, who were kidnapped from Harbanspura area.

The nine victims who are yet to be recovered by police are identified as Ansa, 13; her sister Aqsa, 12; Sheroz, 10; Muhammad Atif, 15; Sameel, 12; Faizan Arshad, 9; Hafsa, 10; Muhammad Awais, 9; Sajid 15; and two-year-old Daim Ali.

The abduction cases of these children were registered with Harbanspura, Defence-B, Badami Bagh, Shadbagh, Yakki Gate, Bhati Gate, and Shahdara police stations under section 363 of the Pakistan Penal Code. However, the Batapur and Badami Bagh police registered the murder case of two young boys.

Angry relatives have been staging protest demonstrations over non-stop killings and kidnappings of children while the government has launched an awareness campaign in the media to “educate” the illiterate and poor parents about the safety of their kids.

Resident of Badami Bagh, Shabbir Ahmed was not hopeful that the killers of his son Muhammad Umair would be arrested or punished. “Where are the killers of my son? When will the police bring the culprits to justice? Who will arrest the killers,” questioned the 30-year-old father with sobbing eyes.

The mother of Daim Ali says she could not sleep since her two-year-old son was abducted by unidentified men. Talking to The Nation, she appealed to Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of situation.

“Where is my son? The police are not interested in recovery of my child. We were humiliated by local police time and again. Nobody is ready to listen to our ordeal. We were told by the police that my son went missing because of our negligence (so police cannot do anything),” said the ill-fated mother.

The mother of 12-year-old Sameel says the government must do something to bring her child back. “I am very concerned about his health. We pray, everyday, for his safe recovery. But the police are unable to do anything,” she added.

Father of Muhammad Sajid, a 15-year-old boy who was kidnapped from Shahdara in June, is praying for a miracle and his son returns home safely. “I have lost faith in the police investigations. When we go to the police station (to know about any progress in the case) we are snubbed by police officers,” the poor father said. “I don’t know whether my son is alive or dead.”

About the abduction case of Faizan Arshad, police say, the boy was abnormal so it is very difficult to find him. However, his parents believe the child was abducted by unknown men and could be exploited for beggary.

Several parents and relatives of abducted children rejected the claims of Punjab police chief that the incidents of “runaway” kids were being portrayed in the media as child abduction cases. They said the police were downplaying the child abduction cases to avoid criticism on the behest of the Punjab rulers.

“Why the police have failed to arrest the killers of a young boy who was found murdered, a few days after he was abducted from Badami Bagh,” asked Rana Muhammad Akram, a 50-year-old schoolteacher. He stated that the police and the government failed to protect the children rights in this society.

Country’s top court last month took notice of the large-scale abductions of children in Punjab. The provincial police informed the Supreme Court that 6793 children were kidnapped from various cities during the last six years out of which 6654 children were recovered but “only 139 children” are still missing.

Last week, a senior police officer told the apex court that the whereabouts of some 164 missing children are not clear yet though local police are investigating the cases.