The government’s decision to bring a new law against rapists, paedophiles and sexual violators shows the loopholes in the existing legal framework that aims to curb sexual offences. The earlier legislation failed to convict sexual offenders effectively. Many a time, rapists and paedophiles exploited the loopholes in the criminal justice system to evade punishment for their actions. Resultantly, sexual abuses have not decreased even though there seems to be unanimous support within society to not let other kids suffer the fate of the late Zainab.

The government’s decision to bring in a new law that will give no escape route to sexual predators is a better-late-than-never development. Moreover, the bill is an improvement on existing legislation as it also will bring police officials to the book that try to undermine any such case in any possible way. The bill must be prepared objectively, however. At the moment, people, including our lawmakers, are emotionally charged. Hopefully, emotions would not trump reason. The government must bring in a comprehensive bill that not only deters the sexual abusers. It must also instruct educational institutions to teach kids the dignity of their bodies and report any such mishap without feeling ashamed.

It is positive to see that the new law is targeting conviction rates because this is the only way to make society safer against abuse. Consensus will be sought on parts of the bill. However, an important step would be consideration of creating a registry of perpetrators of sex crimes. It is high time we develop a cohesive approach to this problem. Only a day ago, another minor girl was raped. Likewise, a woman was assaulted in Karachi two days ago. Despite the countrywide anger shown against the motorway incident, daily reports of sexual offences show that the problem is deeply rooted in our society.