Pakistani protesters demand action after rape, murder of 7-year-old girl


The girl's rape and murder sparked widespread outrage as the people from all social strata deplored the incident as horrific, demanding #JusticeForZainab.

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'm a mother and that is why I'm sitting here with my daughter.

This comes a day after two civilians were killed when the police tried to disperse demonstrators who had attacked a police station.

On Tuesday, the search for her yielded a disgusting discovery: her body, found in a garbage dump not far from her home. There were visible marks of torture on her face, congestion in her muscles. Emergency services remained suspended for about nine hours since noon as most of the roads were blocked.

The protests continued into Thursday, with Kasur police spokesman Muhammad Sajid saying protestors had "thrown stones on the buildings of the government hospital, police and deputy commissioner's office". Pakistan police officials told Dawn News that the post-mortem report of the child confirmed suspicions that she was raped before being murdered. He said he had no faith in Punjab police to trace the killers of his daughter.

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Up to 20 people have been arrested over Zainab's murder "but the investigators have been unable to find any clue so far" Mr Sajid said.

Zainab went missing January 4, as she was heading to a class at a religious school near her home. "I have appealed to the army chief and the chief justice of Pakistan to give me justice as I have no faith in Punjab government and police", he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while chairing a meeting, announced a Rs 10 million reward for those who would help identify the killer of Zainab. "We have registered a murder case against four policemen involved in the killing of two protesters", the police said.

Judging by the massive public outrage, spontaneous, emotional protests and strong statements made by various politicians and public personalities, it seems like Pakistan is in the throes of a moment that could have consequences as far-reaching as the 2012 Delhi gang-rape did in India. It is the twelfth such incident to have take place in Kasur district in the past one year, the police said.