Police in eastern Pakistan have arrested seven men accused of sexually abusing children amid claims authorities have not done enough to stop the paedophile ring, Sky News reports. The scandal gained public momentum over the weekend, after local media published details of alleged abuse. According to some villagers, a prominent family has for years forced children to perform sex acts on video. The footage is then sold or used to blackmail the families.
Rubina Bibi said her 13-year-old son had been abused, but claimed she was told to “get lost” when she tried to file a complaint with police. “My son … is in the videos, he is a victim,” she said. “Our children were forced into this. They were humiliated. But the police are treating them like criminals.” An 18-year-old said he was abused from the age of 10. He said he stole jewellery and money from his family because his abusers blackmailed him.
“I was going to school one day when these boys picked me up and beat me up badly,” he said. “Then they drugged me, and when I woke up, they showed me these videos they had made of me. “They told me that they would bury me alive if I told anyone … I thought about killing myself every single day.” Kasur district regional police chief Shahzad Sultan said investigators have seized about 18 or 19 videos. It is not known how many children are involved.
Punjabi provincial home minister Shuja Khanzada said authorities are investigating the men already in custody, adding that a further 10 suspects will soon be detained.