Last month, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) established National Sex Offenders (NSOR) to give quick information about the sex offenders through a short message service (SMS). The official statement read the NSOR will provide information about the individuals who have been convicted of sex crimes against the children and women. This would assist the different institutions in identifying and tracking sex offenders.
“It is a dynamic database of sexual convicts. The links are established with various law enforcement departments and provincial governments so that updates are made in real-time,” NADRA added.
Through this service, the citizens can verify the CNIC numbers of people being hired for household chores, at colleges, mosques, universities or any other employment to ensure they are not sexual convicts. “You just have to send the CNIC number of that individual to 7000 to know if he/she is possible convict,” the institute said.
Child Abuse is a serious issue in Pakistan as a recent study showed that 41% of its respondents (44% of males and 39% of females) stated that they faced at least one form of sexual abuse during their childhood. The same report mentioned that Pakistan is one of the leading countries with Child Sexual Abuse in the world where around 550,000 children are abused annually. The issue has been highlighted twice in the last few years in the country, first was 2015 child pornography ring and second was rape and murder of seven-year-old.
After the latter incident, then government introduced Zainab Alert Bill, calling for creating of federal agency aimed and preventing the kidnapping and sexual abuse of children by reporting and sending out alerts and creating a national database. “Our ministry started working on establishing a sex offenders’ registry so that we can receive and share information about sex offenders with the rest of the world. We have numerous laws already in place, but the problem we face is a lack of implementation,” the Former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said.
And although the NSOR has finally been launched, it has faced the opposition from the get go as Law Ministry called it illegal. The spokesperson of the ministry said that under Section 24 of Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act, 2021, the ministry along with special committee was responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of NSOR. “As it stands, the current National Sex Offender Register established by NADRA does not possess the necessary legal backing, which raises concerns about its efficacy and reliability,” he said. In case, the NSOR passed this legal and political hurdle, the second major question it faces would be its impact.
The answer seems to know and reason is the nonseriousness of our authorities and agencies. Asfandyar Junejo, a social media influencer has revealed the filthy secrets of dark web related to child porn and even selling of children in Pakistan. “There are people who will provide you a child under 12 years of age anywhere in Pakistan,” Junejo said, adding that there are thousands of children under beggar mafia and nobody care about them whether they are kidnapped, killed or even raped.
Junejo also claimed that price of a child porn from Kasur, Pakistan is only 1-5 dollars on the dark web. “In comparison the leaked audio data of politicians cost 180 bitcoins and this is the country we are living in,” he added.
Analysts maintain that while NSOR is a good step towards right direction, but it has faced a hurdle in its first step. Experts insist that after passing it, it would take a significant time to make an impact and to educate people about it. In theory, this registry should make an impact, but in reality and considering the plight of our society, it is a long road, a really long road.