As Pakistan continues to protest the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari in Kasur, Samaa TV news anchor Kiran Naz chose to protest by hosting the news bulletin with her daughter. “Today, I am not your news anchor Kiran Naz, today I am here as a mother. This is why I am sitting here with my daughter,” she said, as her daughter sat comfortably in her lap. “It is true when they say that the smallest coffins are the heaviest and entire Pakistan is burdened by the weight of her coffin.”
The TV journalist was referring to the rape and murder case which has sent shockwaves across Pakistan this week. The girl was allegedly abducted on January 4 when she was attending a Quran class. Her body was recovered by the police from a heap of garbage on January 9. The incident prompted severe backlash from civil society members and rights activists who have been protesting the repeated instances of child abuse and abduction in the Kasur region.
The girl’s parents were on an umrah (pilgrimage) to Saudi Arabia when the incident took place. Naz on Wednesday pointed out the the tragic irony, saying that while the parents were praying for their daughter’s long life in Saudi Arabia, “a monster in Pakistan” killed her. “This is not just a child’s murder. This is the entire society’s murder,” she said.
The incident has sparked violent protests in the country. On Wednesday, police action against protesters resulted in the death of two civilians. Several others were injured.