Seven year old Zainab strangled to death, raped multiple times

The brutal discovery of the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in an hour’s drive from the capital of Lahore has sparked riots in the town of Kasur, Pakistan.

The girl had gone missing on January 4 when she ventured out of the house to a Quran recital, five days later the gruesome discovery of her body was found in a garbage pile,

Zainab’s family say the police did not take action after they reported her disappearance and it was relatives who recovered CCTV footage of Zainab’s movements before she disappeared, not the police.

ALSO READ: #JusticeForZainab: New CCTV footage released of suspect. Forensic lab reports will take 3 months according to police.

The footage showing a girl being led by the hand by a man was circulated widely on social media.

Protests have re-erupted in the city today following a day of demonstrations on Wednesday after news of the incident sparked nationwide public outrage. 

To add to the misery, police firing on protesters, who were venting their anger over the incident, left two people dead on Wednesday. Residents are still protesting and access to nearby towns and cities, remains blocked. 

The Punjab Bar Council also announced a complete boycott of courts today and lawyers have demanded the immediate arrest of the killer(s). 

The children loved to compete in running to their aunt’s house: Zainab’s uncle 

Talking on Geo News’ morning show Geo Pakistan Thursday morning, Mudassar, the paternal uncle of the victim, said Zainab and his son, seven-year-old Usman, would go to their aunt’s house daily to read the Quran. 

He said that the two kids would often race to get there, and on that fateful evening Zainab went out first, followed by Usman, but wasn’t at her aunts house by the time Usman reached there.

Mudassar also stated that he doesn’t recognise the man walking next to Zainab in the CCTV footage, saying that the potential suspect is forcibly holding her arm in the video. 

Punjab CM vows not to rest till suspect(s) caught

ALSO READ: #JusticeForZainab: New CCTV footage released of suspect. Forensic lab reports will take 3 months according to police.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Zainab’s residence early Thursday morning. In his conversation with the deceased’s parents, Shehbaz promised not to rest until the culprit(s) responsible for the heinous crime is brought to book.

The chief minister was accompanied by senior government officials and the Punjab government spokesperson.

Moreover, overnight, officials of an intelligence agency collected evidence and recorded the statements of victim Zainab’s family.

‘Strangled to death, raped multiple times’

Zainab’s initial postmortem report stated that she was strangled to death after being raped multiple times. However, officials said the exact cause of death would be determined after further forensic examination.

Zainab’s parents claimed that police did not cooperate in finding their child after she went missing. “If the police would have acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught,” said Zainab’s father.

The funeral prayers of the deceased were offered Wednesday afternoon, led by Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Tahirul Qadri.

Zainab was laid to rest later in the evening.

Protests, police firing 

At least two people were killed and one injured when police opened fire on protesters who had broken into the DC Office on Wednesday while protesting the incident. Video from the protests showed some policemen opening straight fire on protesters.

Enraged protesters vandalised public property and cars inside the vicinity along with pelting stones at police officers.

One of the protesters shared that seven minor girls were kidnapped last year, yet the police failed to arrest a single suspect.

Two suspects involved: Punjab law minister 

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said Wednesday two people were suspected to be involved in the rape and murder of Zainab, adding they will be arrested soon and given an exemplary punishment.

He also challenged the narrative pertaining to police’s inaction in the case, adding that the police were in contact with the minor’s family constantly and conducting an investigation.

When asked about lack of police action regarding similar cases in Kasur, Sanaullah remarked that all the cases are of different nature. It’s not that there is just one suspect behind all the incidents whom the police have failed to arrest, he said.

The CCTV footage shows that the minor was walking with someone she knew. “It was either someone from her family, neighbourhood or servant,” the minister speculated.

On the violent protests in Kasur, he remarked that the people should control their emotions in such situations and not cause harm to public property. “It is worrisome that some people are resorting to violence, arson. I request people to stay calm and exercise patience.”

Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer Zulfiqar Hameed said it was not correct to term the incident negligence on the part of the police.

The minor’s family provided the CCTV footage and neighbours also helped in the case but it is incorrect to think that police is being negligent, Hameed said.

Hameed also said that 96 samples of DNA have been sent for testing, adding that the police hope to find a DNA match in at least five cases.

Earlier, Kasur District Police Officer Zulfiqar Ahmed revealed that over 5,000 people have been questioned in eight cases related to minor girls being allegedly raped and then murdered in the city, while medical checkups of 67 individuals have taken place. 

Ahmed was later removed from office and made an officer on special duty (OSD).

On February 25 last year, a seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped and then strangled to death in Kasur. According to reports, her body was found at an abandoned house near her residence in Ali Park.

The victim’s family and neighbours had protested by blocking Lahore Road demanding justice.

In August 2015, the country’s biggest child abuse scandal was unearthed in Ganda Singh Wala area of Kasur, where around 400 objectionable videos were made of 280 victims of abuse by a gang of over 25 criminals.

The international community mourn and are angered

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