Shireen Mazari, the minister for human rights in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, condemned the comments by the police chief, who serves in a province that is controlled by Mr. Khan’s governing party. “Nothing can ever rationalize the crime of rape,” she wrote on Twitter. “That’s it.”
Dr. Mazari did not immediately respond to a request for comment early on Friday.
Reacting to both cases, Mr. Khan said in a series of tweets on Thursday that officials would bring the perpetrators to justice. “Such brutality and bestiality cannot be allowed in any civilized society,” Mr. Khan said.
Pakistan ranks 147th out of the 182 countries that have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to an index on children’s well-being published by the KidsRights Foundation, a research and advocacy group in the Netherlands. The index measures the prevalence of child labor and rates of mortality and malnutrition, among other criteria.
Pakistan’s consistently poor ranking in the survey proves that “policymakers and state machinery in Pakistan have utterly ignored welfare and rights of children,” Ms. Aziz, the opposition lawmaker and children’s rights advocate, wrote last year in The News International, a major English-language daily in Pakistan.
Some sexual assault cases in the country have led to calls for a national reckoning.
In 2015, Pakistan was rocked by accusations that at least 280 children under the age of 14 in villages in eastern Punjab Province had been subjected to sexual abuse by a gang of 15 men, who made videos to extort money from the children and their parents.
More recently, the case of Muhammad Faizan, an 8-year-old boy who was raped and killed in the eastern Pakistani city of Chunian, drew more outrage and protests. People surrounded the local police station and accused officers of neglect.
There are signs that the country is moving to tackle the issue.
Under legislation that Parliament passed in March, anyone who kidnaps, rapes or murders a minor can face life imprisonment or the death penalty. On Friday, Ms. Aziz said that the measure should be the start of a broad array of reforms to promote child welfare.