Pakistan erupts in protest following rape, murder of 7-year-old

A seven-year-old Pakistani girl was allegedly abducted, raped and killed in Kasur district of Pakistan sparking off outrage among public. Here is all you need to know about the case.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2018 1:16 pm
Pakistan rape, Justice for Zainab, Pakistan rape protests, Kasur, Zainab Ansari, Pakistan girl raped, Pakistan child rape, Pakistan child murder, Pakistan News People attend a funeral of a Pakistani girl who was raped and killed in Kasur Pakistan. (AP Photo)

Two civilians were killed and several left injured in Pakistan’s Kasur district Wednesday as police opened fire to disperse an angry mob protesting a minor’s murder in the city. Four days after she went missing, seven-year-old girl Zainab Ansari’s body was found on Tuesday near a garbage dumpster, roughly two kms from her house. Television news channels across Pakistan claimed the young girl had been raped and apparently strangled to death. Pakistan police officials told Dawn News that the post-mortem report of the child confirmed suspicions that she was raped before being murdered.

The news sent shockwaves across Pakistan causing widespread outrage with protests erupting in different parts of the country. This, however, is not the first time that such a case has come to light in Kasur. In the past year, there have been at least 12 such reported incidents in that region, Reuters reports.

What happened?

The girl, who was living with her maternal aunt, had gone to attend Quran class in the neighbourhood on January 4 when she was allegedly abducted. After the girl did not return home that night, family members registered an FIR the next day citing her disappearance. CCTV footage obtained by the family shows the girl walking with a stranger and holding his hand. Some reports claimed that the girl was walking without any apparent signs of fear.

On January 9, a police constable recovered her body from a heap of rubbish. Local media organisations quote police chief Zulfiqar Hameed as saying that an autopsy suggested that the girl was raped before being strangled to death at least five days ago.

The girl’s parents, who were away for an umrah (pilgrimage) to Saudi Arabia, returned to Pakistan on Wednesday and were unable to attend their child’s funeral prayers.  “I have nothing to say, I just want justice for my daughter,” the mother was quoted as saying by The Dawn.

Pakistan rape, murder of 7-year-old: TV anchor hosts news bulletin with daughter in protest

The victim’s father Ameen Ansari claimed that the police did not cooperate with the family members who registered the complaint. “My relatives and neighbours told me that the police used to come, have food and leave,” he told local media. “While they didn’t do anything, my friends and family spent day and night looking for my daughter,” he added.

Protests turn violent

Violence erupted before the girl’s funeral on Wednesday leading to clashes between protesters and police. Recovery of the girl’s body on Tuesday and the brutal manner in which she was murdered sparked off protests in Kasur and prompted a strike in the city. According to Pakistani media, traders shut shop to join a demonstration near the hospital demanding strict action against perpetrator. They also called out the incompetence of the police at handling child abduction cases in the region.

The case  has attracted the attention of the country’s civilian and military leadership with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif calling for immediate action. The spokesperson for Pakistan’s Punjab province, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, told Reuters that protesters turned violent and attacked a local police office. “They started throwing stones at the office and some of armed protesters shot bullets at police. In order to stop them, police resorted to aerial firing,” Khan said.

Locals have a different story to share. “A peaceful protest was taking place, some students threw stones and police responded by firing at the crowd,” Saleem ur Rehman, a resident who was at the protest, told Reuters. “The law and order situation here is really bad and there have been many such incidents. That is what the protest was about.” the girl’s parents said.

The case also triggered extreme criticism on social media as hundreds of thousands of people — including celebrities, activists and politicians — used the hashtag #JusticeForZainab to condemn the horrific incident of violence and demand action.

Kasur’s record on child abduction

Records suggest a number of police officials have been transferred out of the region for failing to investigate complaints of missing children since 2015. Back then, authorities had uncovered what they called a paedophile ring linked to a prominent local family. At least two people have been convicted in the case, in which authorities say hundreds of children in the district were abused. The perpetrators also sold videos of the abuse.

Officer Maqsood Ahmed told The Associated Press that six girls were sexually assaulted in recent months in Kasur and that police were probing whether there was a connection in the cases.

The victim’s father said that the parents in the region lived in fear as cases of child abuse and abduction rose in the last two years. “Investigations reveal that in each case a paedophile kidnaps little girls, rapes them and kills them,” regional police officer Zulfiqar Hameed said. “We have got CCTV footage that shows a young man taking her along. We will catch him very soon,” he said, adding that 95 DNA samples had been taken from suspects. The police has also released a sketch of the suspect.

Kasur murder case: Police released a sketch of the suspect.

Reactions

Pakistan Chief of Army Staff also condemned the incident. “COAS condemns cold blooded murder of innocent Zainab. Responding to appeal by the aggrieved parents to COAS, directs immediate all out support to civil administration to arrest the criminals and bringing them to exemplary justice,” the official spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces Major General Asif Ghafoor wrote on Twitter.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai also took to Twitter to demand action by the government. “Heartbroken to hear about Zainab – a 7 year old child abused and brutally killed in Kasur, Pakistan. This has to stop. Gov and the concerned authorities must take action. #JusticeForZainab,” she tweeted.

The Lahore High Court’s chief justice has ordered a probe into Zainab’s killing.

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  1. Alamdar Hussain Naqvi
    Jan 14, 2018 at 9:55 pm
    جو ظُلم زینب کے ساتھ ہوا وہ انتہائی بیمار ذہنوں کی پیدا وار ہے ۔ زینب کو لے جانے والے شخص کے قد کاٹھ اور زینب کے قد میں جو فرق نظر آتا تھا اور زینب کی عمر اور اُس ظالم کی عمر میں جو فرق واضح ہے اُس سے ظاہر ہے کہ مُجرم شدید قسم کا ذہنی اور نفسیاتی مریض ہے ۔ بچی کا قتل اُس کے خوف کی اور بچی سے جنسی زیادتی اُس کے نفسیاتی مرض کی غمازی کرتا ہے لیکن سوال یہ ہے کہ آخر وہ کون سے عوامل ہیں جو اس طرح کے ذہنی اور نفسیاتی امراض میں مبتلا درندے پیدا کر رہے ہیں ۔ کیا جنسی تسکین سے محرومی یا جنسی ہوس کی آگ بھڑکاتا میڈیا؟ یہ سب سوچنے کی باتیں ہیں ۔
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    1. Alamdar Hussain Naqvi
      Jan 14, 2018 at 9:39 pm
      زینب ہم شرمندہ ہیں ـــــــــ تیرے قاتِل زندہ ہیں
      (0)(0)
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      1. Zahid Shagoo
        Jan 12, 2018 at 9:44 am
        #justiceforzainab
        (2)(0)
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        1. Hafiz Awais Qarni
          Jan 11, 2018 at 10:13 pm
          Justice for Zainab in Kasur An seven-year-old young lady, Zainab, was assaulted raped and killed in Kasur, days after she disappeared from home. Boss Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC), Mansoor Ali Shah on Wednesday considered the charged assault and murder of a 8-year-old read more s: injurylawyerlife /justice-for-zainab-kasur/
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          1. Amjad Miandad
            Jan 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm
            I as a father in such a grief and fear after these recent incidents. I'm much too worried for my 2 little angles all the daughters around. I have been active even worked to raise the awareness level of parents, children especially my children with appropriate IEC material, graphics, videos, cartoons etc what ever medium I could use. I have educated my kids to report abusive behaviors and to try to not to become an easy victim or to escape from such attempts but that's not enough, that can't make them invulnerable . Either its Pakistan or India the problem is we ignore the importance of such education. No 1 try to teach their kids about the signs dealing to puberty. About their private parts etc. Boys learn from friends about adolescent how to shave our private parts but our parents teachers don't tell us how to keep cleanliness to deal with puberty signs. Same is with the girls. We r shy ignorant from the importance of such issues. We'v to over come our shortcomings.
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