KASUR: Protests erupted in the Kasur on Wednesday after the alleged rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab sparked nationwide public outrage.
Seven-year-old Zainab, a resident of Rod Kot area of Kasur, was kidnapped on her way to tuition centre on January 05. Her body was found in a garbage pile near Kashmir Chowk after four days. Initial postmortem said, the minor was strangled to death after being raped, adding that the girl was raped multiple times.
Residents agitated against perceived police inaction over the alleged rape and murder. Two people were killed by gunshot wounds as protesters attempted to storm the deputy commissioner’s office and were repelled by police. Footages recorded by news channels showed policemen taking aim at protestors and firing direct shots. Two others were injured in the clashes, hospital sources said.
The brutal murder of the girl incited anger among residents as it was the 12th such case to occur within a two kilometre radius in the city in the last year.
Tahir-ul-Qadri leads funeral prayer:
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri led the funeral prayer of little girl. Dr. Qadri left for Kasur soon after the protests erupted in the city as demonstrators made preparations for the funeral prayers. After the funeral prayer, he prayed to Allah Almighty for the eternal peace of the Zainab and patience for the bereaved family.
Father demands justice
The parents of Zainab arrived in Islamabad from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday afternoon.
“We will not bury Zainab until the killer is caught,” said her father speaking with reporters outside the airport. He alleged that the police did not cooperate in finding his daughter “If the police would have acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught.”
The father also appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the incident and Army Chief General Bajwa to provide justice. Zainab was later laid to rest after another funeral prayer was offered.
Chief Justice of Pakistan takes notice:
By Wednesday evening, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, took notice of the incident and sought a report from the Inspector General of Police, Punjab, within 24 hours.
Earlier, the Chief Justice (CJ) Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Mansoor Ali Shah took notice of the incident and directed the Punjab police and District and Session Judge for a report into the incident. While strongly denouncing the mishap, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice at any cost.
Meanwhile, enraged lawyers boycotted judicial proceedings at district bar in protest and demanded early action into the matter.
Army chief directs for exemplary punishment for culprits:
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed the forces to provide all possible assistance to law enforcement agencies for arrest of killers involved in seven-year old Zainab’s killing, ISPR said in a press release.
The ISPR release said that army Chief has taken the notice of appeal made by parents to army chief and directed the military to provide full support in arrest of perpetrators.
“The culprits must be taken to task and will be awarded exemplary sentence,” army chief said while severely condemning the incident.
Another notice by Chief Minister:
Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif also took notice of the incident and ordered authorities to immediately arrest culprits.
“Arrest the culprit and start the investigation against them,” he said. The CM also summoned a report from IG over the matter. The culprits won’t be able to escape punishment, he said.
CM expressed grief with the parents of the deceased girl. “Justice for the parents will be dispensed at all costs,” he said, adding that he will personally look after the case investigation.
JI submits adjournment motions in NA, Senate
The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) submitted adjournment motions against the vicious killing of Zainab in National Assembly and Senate. JI members Ayesha Syed, Sahibzada Tariqullah and Sahibzada Yaqoob- submitted the adjournment motion saying that the innocent girl was abducted on January 05 but the law enforcement agencies and state machinery had failed to recover her that caused the such dreadful incident.
“The incident of sexual assault with girls and boys being appeared in Kasur on regular basis, however it is regretful government yet to take concrete steps to overcome such kind of inhuman incidents ,” motion stated.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Provincial Chief Ministers, Federal, Provincial Ministers, MNAs, MPAs, heads, leaders of various political and religious parties including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), Awami Muslim League (AML), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and others have strongly condemned the inhumane act and have demanded the authorities concerned to bring the culprits to book.
People from across the county took to social media to share their anger and outrage over the murder, using the hashtag #JusticeForZainab.
Kasur had also made local and international headlines in 2015 when a gang of pedophiles running a child sex ring was busted in the city. The gang had allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted at least 280 children in the area, had blackmailed the families of the victims since 2009, and even sold video clips and images of the assault online. -INP/Agencies