8-year-old girl, Zainab was abducted, brutally raped and murdered in Kasur, Pakistan.
Her body was found at a garbage pile near Shahbaz Road on Tuesday, January 9. According to the initial postmortem report, the minor was strangled to death after being raped multiple times.
Zainab had gone to a religious tuition centre near her house in the Road Kot area last Thursday, January 4th, from where she is believed to have been abducted. Her parents had been in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage), according to her family, and she had been living with a maternal aunt.
Soon after her abduction, her panicked family had received footage showing her walking with a stranger near Peerowala Road.
On Tuesday, a police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a heap of trash near the Shahbaz Khan Road. Police said the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days earlier.
A first information report had been registered against the disappearance of the girl on Jan 5, with the victim’s paternal uncle as the complainant in the case. Murder charges were added to the FIR on Jan 9, after the victim’s body was recovered.
Zainab’s parents returned from their pilgrimage on Wednesday. As reporters surrounded them outside Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, her grieving mother said:
“I have nothing to say, I just want justice for my daughter.”
Zainab’s father claimed that police “did not cooperate” with them: “It is our friends who have stood by us,” he regretted. “We will not bury her until we get justice,” he asserted. “We are now afraid of letting our children leave the home. How was our child kidnapped from a busy market?” he asked.
Police said DNA samples from the victim’s body have been dispatched for forensic testing. Police have dubbed the murder a serial killing, but are not ruling out rape. Further information will be available once an autopsy report is issued.
The recovery of Zainab’s body on Tuesday had ignited protests and a shutter-down strike in the city.
As word got around, traders shuttered their shops and staged a protest demonstration. Scores of other people also gathered at Steel Bagh Mor near the hospital and protested with the girl’s body in the middle of the road. They also threw traffic out of gear by burning tyres on Ferozepur Road and chanted slogans against police and local parliamentarians for their alleged apathy.
Two people were killed by gunshot wounds as enraged protesters armed with sticks and stones attempted to storm the deputy commissioner’s office and clashed with police. At least two others sustained bullet injuries.
People including users from other parts of the took to social media to share their anger and outrage over the murder using the hashtag #JusticeForZainab.