It has been a while since the Zainab incident that shook the nation occurred. Having been one of the most horrible and shell-shocking experiences for us, as a society, as a people and as a country. It has been a while. But it is still important for us to talk about it.
It is an accepted fact to teach our daughters to take the back seat, to cover themselves up from head to toe, to not to stay out too late and to protect their modesty according to the Pakistani societal standards. What we do not understand, is that if we keep our daughters suppressed and allow our sons to be free to do whatever they want with no accountability, we are turning a blind eye to their notoriety, which will end up doing more harm than good to our society.
If this situation keeps up, we do not know how many incidents similar to Zainab’s case will sprout up. In fact, we would be adding more fuel to the already raging fire. At 13 years of age I understand that many adults do not take what we as kids say seriously, but I would beseech them to take up this responsibility and make sure that this brutal and feral action never happens again. We need to teach our sons to behave, to respect girls and protect women.
We must raise our voice against this injustice and oppression. All children must be able to talk to their parents and loved ones about their problems freely, without hesitation, without judgement and without the fear of being shut down. When these types of incidents occur, we feel regret, but unfortunately that regret does not last long.
In most cases, we are quick to point fingers and say that the government, the police and the army should care take of it; but while they don’t, it is our duty, as citizens of our nation to take a step forward, and to make a decision for our country’s benefit and betterment. Step by step, even the most distant dreams and goals can be achieved. We must transcend all religions, all races and all ethnicities to stop these horrible and animalistic acts being done to our children. Only by doing so, do we fulfil our role as Pakistanis, as Muslims and above all else, as protectors of humanity.
Let us stand up and remember that it is the responsibility of every citizen, regardless of the social standing, to protect children and make sure that there is never another Zainab who suffers the same fate.
Never forgive, never forget!
The author of this piece is Khizar Abbas Cheema. Khizar is a 13 year old 8th grader hailing from Faisalabad, studying at First Steps – School of Arts & Sciences. Khizar is passionate about history, literature and wanting to bring about a positive change in Pakistan.