Viral Video Shows Cop Trying to Sell His Own ChildrenNovember 16, 2021
A man in a police uniform is seen shouting on the street in the middle of a busy intersection. With him are two children, one looking no older than six. They look terrified and confused. The man shouts that he is selling his children for 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($285).
This video of Nisar Lashari, a policeman from the prisons department in Ghotki district, Sindh province in Pakistan, has gone viral and became the subject of local news reports, putting the spotlight on the factors that made him desperate enough to try to peddle his children.
“I was feeling so helpless,” Lashari told VICE World News. He had asked his superiors for a leave of absence so he could be with one of his children for a medical procedure. His senior officer asked him for a bribe, Lashari said, and when he couldn’t pay up, he was reassigned to a post 75 miles away in the city of Larkana.
“Why did they give me this punishment just for not paying a bribe? I am so poor that I could not even travel to Karachi to file a complaint with the inspector general of prisons. The people here are so powerful and there is usually no action taken against them,” he said.
“Was I supposed to pay off bribes or pay for my child's operation? Was I supposed to work in Larkana or was I supposed to take my child for treatment?” Lashari added.
His mind was muddled and he didn’t know what to do, Lashari said, so he acted out of desperation. “At the time I was not thinking about anything except my situation. But looking back, I’m not surprised that the video went viral. It's the social media age, news travels so quickly.”
Parents caught in desperate situations don’t normally resort to selling off their children, according to the executive director of child protection nonprofit Search for Justice Iftikhar Mubarik. “It is not very common for us to observe such cases, which might be highlighted here and there in the media. In some cases, however, you will find that people are not actually trying to sell off their children, but they are trying to gain attention from the media and other stakeholders in having their needs met,” Mubarik told VICE World News.
The viral video worked in Lashari’s favor. His story caught the public’s attention, including that of Sindh’s chief minister Murad Ali Shah, who intervened in the matter. Lashari was able to stay at his job at the prison in Ghotki, and was granted a 14-day leave of absence so he could be with his child for the medical treatment.
According to prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, a formal complaint has been lodged against the Ghotki prison official accused of asking for a bribe. Lashari confirmed this to VICE World News. Neither the accused nor the prison authorities could immediately be reached for comment.
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