LAHORE - A boy was found dead in Batapur neighbourhood on Sunday. The body was sent to morgue for autopsy.

Police identified the deceased as Subhan Amjad, a resident of Lakhan Sharif village.

The 10-year-old boy went missing on Saturday when he left for nearby fields to 1fetch fodder for goats. His family launched search desperately but to no avail.

Some passersby yesterday spotted the body and rang the police.

A police investigator said the victim was strangled with a rope. “Apparently, the attackers killed the boy after sexual assault,” he said.

 “The child was lying dead in the fields with serious injuries in his head as police reached the spot. His body bores severe torture marks,” the official said adding that investigation was underway.

The police reported the child murder in Lahore a day after Punjab Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz Khan ordered his force to bring to justice the criminals involved in crimes against women and children. The IGP while presiding over the Regional Police Officers conference also directed the field officers to protect women and children.

10 years old left home to fetch fodder for goats 

The latest incident of child rape and murder spread anger and anxiety in the entire locality as hundreds of villagers gathered on the spot as police arrived there. The relatives of the victim were seen in tears as they identified the mutilated body recovered from the bushes.

 The Batapur police registered a murder case against unidentified killers on the complaint of a relative of the deceased and launched the investigation with no arrest so far.

There is no let-up in the incidents of child rape and murders in this Punjab province, where police reported more than 2400 child abuse cases in 2018. The rise in sexual assaults on children has become a serious challenge for the law enforcement agency. 

Reportedly, at least 10 children suffer some form of abuse every day in Pakistan. According to a report released by NGO Sahil, the reported cases of child abuse increased by 11 percent in 2018 as compared to 2017 in the country. A total of 3,832 child abuse cases were reported in all four provinces as well as Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan last year as compared to 3,445 such incidents reported from January to December 2017.

The incidents of child murders after rape are not rare in this province where police report hundreds of child rape cases every year.

The latest child murder was reported by police in Lahore several months after seven-year-old Zainab’s killer Ali Imran was hanged to death in the Kot Lakhpat jail. Zainab was found murdered after being raped in Kasur city early last year. Her horrific killing had triggered outrage across the country with rights activists calling for adopting urgent safety measures to protect children from sexual abuse.

Last week, Punjab Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz Khan directed his department to prepare a feasibility report for establishing specialized units to control gender-based violence in the province.

The rare move came as police reported a record number of crime cases involving women and children in Punjab in recent years. Officials say the gender-based crime units are being raised to help women and children in other districts following the successful launch of the pilot project in district Muzaffargarh. This specialized police unit will also provide psychological, legal, and medical aid to women and children, police say.