Lahore: Authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province have decided to declare an “emergency” following a spike in cases of sexual abuse against women and children, the media reported on Monday.

Punjab Home Minister Atta Tarar on Sunday said the administration was forced to “declare an emergency to deal with rape cases”.

The minister said the rapid increase in cases of sexual abuse against women and children in the province was a serious issue for the society and government officials.

“Four to five cases of rape are being reported daily in Punjab due to which the government is considering special measures to deal with cases of sexual harassment, abuse and coercion, the Dawn newspaper quoted the provincial minister as saying in a press conference at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) headquarters.

The minister, in the presence of Law Minister Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, stressed that all cases will be reviewed by the Cabinet Committee on Rape and Law and Order, and that civil society, women rights organisations, teachers, and attorneys will also be consulted to keep a check on such incidents.

Tarar also urged parents to teach their children about the importance of safety and that youngsters should not be left alone in their homes without supervision.

Tarar stated that the accused in a number of cases had been detained, the government had launched an anti-rape campaign, and that students would be sensatised about sexual harassment in schools.

The home minister also said the role of Punjab Forensic Science Agency would be improved for sampling of DNA on a fast track basis and a meeting with the lab authorities was scheduled for later Monday.

The minister in a response to a query also regretted that taking drugs had become a fashion in elite schools and colleges, which was contributing to the rise in the crime graph.

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