Rape, murder of 8-year-old shocks Pakistan

Published: January 10, 2018
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KASUR: A day of rage over the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl came to an end with two adults being added to the death toll. The streets of Kasur were filled with the stench of burning tyres on Wednesday as residents voiced their anger and outrage at the news that little Zainab, who went missing on Saturday, had been found – raped, dead, and buried in garbage.

In the morning, in front of DHQ Hospital, a crowd of protesters demanded the public flogging and hanging of “the monster responsible”. Inside, her body was on an autopsy table.

A visibly upset rickshaw driver broke his stunned silence to tell The Express Tribune that it was the eighth incident during the last five years, but instead of arresting the killer, the police had only picked up innocent people randomly “as is their routine practice”, since the very first incident was reported.

“This is madness. For God’s sake, just find the killer, whatever it takes,” he pleads as a defeated expression takes over his face.

Funeral prayers for the little girl were offered in absentia. Her body was still in a white coffin in cold storage as people refused to let her be buried because “her innocent face is begging for justice” to be done first. Hours later, her parents returned from Saudi Arabia – where they were performing Umrah – and allowed the burial.

Her mother has just one demand – justice for her baby. “We just want the culprits arrested. Nothing else.”

Around the same time, protesters gathered outside the deputy commissioner (DC) office. The crowd soon turned violent and attempted to attack the office. Policemen opened indiscriminate fire and killed two protesters. At least two others were injured.

The use of guns by the police brought even more protesters on to the streets. Now armed with batons, clubs, and sticks, they blocked almost every artery in the city.

“We just want justice for Zainab,” said a protester. “We are not here to hurt anyone. I don’t know why the police opened fire.”

Zainab’s home is located in a working-class neighbourhood. Walls in the area were covered with decorative lights. They had been put up for Rabiul Awwal 12, and nobody bothered to take them down.

Amid the lights, people had begun putting up posters demanding justice for the child.

A few kilometres away stands the shrine of Bulleh Shah. His message of humanity is lost amid the violence.

Kasur: A timeline of tears shed and lives lost over the years

Clueless cops

Sub Inspector Iftikhar Ahmed told the media that child abuse incidents had surged since 2012, and the police had no clues as to who is responsible.

He claimed that the police had investigated at least 500 people, but could not find a suspect. CCTV footage and the victim’s clothing had been sent for forensics, he added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif suspended the District Police Officer (DPO) of Kasur over the killing of two protesters, and constituted a committee to probe the incident.

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The shame of Kasur

According to a news release, the CM said those involved in this crime would not escape justice. Taking it upon himself to provide justice to her family, he said he would not rest till that was done.

He also expressed deep grief over the death of two protesters in the firing and extended sympathies to their families. He said he had ordered investigation into the firing, and legal action would be initiated against the responsible persons.

The day turned into night, but none of Zainab’s most vociferous defenders from the world of politics came over to offer condolences. Only a few civil society activists and fringe political workers were there. On one’s lips was a question – will she turn into another statistic?

Condemnations 

The Chief of Army Staff condemned the cold blooded murder of Zainab and directed “immediate all out support to civil administration to arrest the criminals and bringing them to exemplary justice”

PTI Chief Imran Khan took to Twitter to condemn the incident saying “The condemnable and horrific rape and murder of little Zainab exposes once again how vulnerable our children are in our society. This is not the first time such horrific acts have happened. We have to act swiftly to punish the guilty and ensure that our children are better protected.”

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PTI Chief Imran Khan blamed the “total degeneration of Punjab police” for the situation in Kasur and their handling of the protests that took place today.

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Speaking to a private news channel, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanullah stated that agitators in guise of protesters are trying to disrupt the law and order situation of the province.

“All the suspects, from previous cases being spoken about, have been arrested,” said Sanaullah.

He further added that the government was trying resolve the situation and vowed that the culprits will be brought to justice at the earliest.

Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif taking notice of the case ordered for the prompt arrest of the suspect. He added that he would be supervising the progress of the case personally.

“Justice should be served to the affected family at all cost. The killers of the innocent girl won’t be able to escape,” he said.

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has termed the brutal rape and murder the minor in Kasur as shocking and a slap on the face of Sharifdom, which continues to ignore such ghastly incidents.

“Ten incidents of minors’ rape and murders had been reported in Kasur and eleven in Sheikhupura alone last year. It seems some parts of Punjab have been turned into hell for the children, especially the girls but Sharif brothers appear to have abandoned their duty as rulers,” the PPP Chairman said in a statement issued today.

Bilawal said that gory incident of children rapes and murders have shaken the society and any tolerance by Sharif brothers to perpetrators of these crimes won’t be accepted.

PPP Chairman demanded that rapists and killers of every innocent child should be brought to book and none of them should go scot-free.

Bilawal reiterated that protection of children was top priority of PPP and crimes against the children would be sternly dealt with. He expressed sympathies with all those parents who suffered the agonies and assured that PPP stands in solidarity with them. PPP will raise voice against these atrocities on our innocent children at every forum, he added.

Other politicians also took to Twitter to lodge their protests.

Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National Heritage and Literary History Marriyum Aurangzeb in a tweet today said, “The rapist and murderer of the innocent girl in Kasur will be awarded exemplary punishment for his wickedness and we are standing with the affected family.”

Her murder is an extremely shameful and condemnable act. The beast who committed this heinous crime deserves the harshest possible punishment.

Maryam Nawaz tweeted saying that the perpetrators should be given a harsh sentence so that no one would dare do this again.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Maher
    Jan 10, 2018 - 11:26AM

    This is really, really sad… Just imagine the pain of that child and the pain of her parents…. Culprits must be hangedRecommend

  • Malcolm
    Jan 10, 2018 - 2:45PM

    @Maher:
    I agree with you Maher, the culprit should be hanged in public so that something like this never ever happens in the future.Recommend

  • Qasim
    Jan 10, 2018 - 2:48PM

    This is really sad cant even look at pictures or read- Hoping justice is prevailed! Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Jan 10, 2018 - 2:49PM

    Why politicize this? Everyone thinks this is horrid.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jan 10, 2018 - 3:01PM

    I really do not wanna Spread hopelessness But Well I see nothing happening For the Kido.
    We moved on After Every Horrible thing happened in our Country haven’t we?
    1971 Happened and we moved on, APS Happened and We moved on, Kasur Scandal happened and We Once again moved on. Changing DPs wont change a thing in Our Society. We the masses Flood the streets When it comes to even Alleged Allegations of Blasphemy Against any Minority BUT this Kido? Who is She to us Anyway?

    Forget It Man, I Feel ashamed to be the part of this Pathetic Society Who has lost its Conscious Totally! Recommend

  • Shakeel Mahota
    Jan 10, 2018 - 3:29PM

    The cases of previous 11 such cases in Qasur must also be re-opened and harshest penalties should be awarded to all the rapists and murderers. The Chief Justice of Supreme Court may take suo moto action.Recommend

  • Anon
    Jan 10, 2018 - 3:54PM

    @Shuaib:
    It’s politicised because the political party in government repeatedly gives cover to criminals and has destroyed the police completely for their own political and financial gains!

    That is why it is politicised… the purpose of politics is to point this out!Recommend

  • Eijaz Khan
    Jan 10, 2018 - 3:57PM

    I can’t understand why Police has failed to trace the culprit. it is not a big work.Recommend

  • gada hussain sayed
    Jan 10, 2018 - 4:01PM

    Our conscious is no more, alive but is dead because we are living in model selfish society.PARTICULARLY when our high ups are seen engaged in such cases protecting the same
    Criminal persons, like Khalida khawaja rape case at suit southern colony where we saw the murder of Akbar bugti, case of Naeem bukhari( with due respect to Bukhari sahab),and more, in which sitting M–Iii level is involved ,what to ask for a 7seven year Anglican of Kasoor city.now you can see the roll of S.H.O concerned during
    ENQUIRY????.may GOd bless we all.Recommend

  • Kamal
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:04PM

    Sickening. I pray may a severe curse of Allah begets all who are party to such heinous crime. May they rot in this world and after.AAmeen. RIP little angel, you are in better place then this S*hole.Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:07PM

    As a father of a girl of same age, this story just set my soul on fire and completely broke me down.Recommend

  • Billa
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:25PM

    Once again we have proved that we are jahil in every respect starting from the heinous crime till what’s happening .Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:29PM

    @Malcolm:
    Better yet, throw those culprits in Lahore Zoo’s lion cage; those critters need beefing up.Recommend

  • unknown
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:31PM

    Culprit should be given to her parents; and let them allow whatever punish they want to give him. Recommend

  • Hasan
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:52PM

    This too shall pass, with dismal degradation in values, justice system and civic administration in our country. Ashamed to be a Pakistani today.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jan 10, 2018 - 5:56PM

    I don’t know why our society is still hesitating to give sex education to the minors. They should know what is wrong and what is right, our society is fill with these kind of mentally abusers. That is our society issue no kid safe in madarsa, school even in their own houses. There are thousands of Zainabs raped and killed each year. First we have to give knowledge to our kids and never trust on anyone to be as protected as parents.

    Our kids been taught in school about the sexual harassment in Canada, First we took it offensive according to our religion, but after second thought I thought its better to give them that knowledge so they could be safe from these kinda acts. :(

    These kind of incident happens everywhere in Pakistan but mostly in Punjab. Punjab gorment needs to do something about it. We dont need metros everywhere , we need us and our kids to be safe.Recommend

  • Assad
    Jan 10, 2018 - 7:42PM

    Pakistani authorities should approach their western counterparts to look at the possibility of getting a more detailed, clear analysis of the video which shows the perpetrator walking off with the girl. There is technology available to magnify with clarity the resolution in the video which would provide for clear identification of the perpetrator as I am sure many in that area/neighborhood probably know him. This degenerate and all of his accomplices should be hung on the very street corner as an example for the rest of the rapists and pedophiles!Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 10, 2018 - 10:53PM

    This is the result of politicization of the police force.
    CJ takes notice…….translation : Nothing will happen.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 10, 2018 - 11:30PM

    This is the result of politicization of the police force AND a collapse of our law enforcement and the criminal justice system…….. BAD GOVERNANCE.Recommend

  • Shan
    Jan 11, 2018 - 12:08AM

    Rangers should keep their nose out of this.. Let this government face the music. Recommend

  • nisar
    Jan 11, 2018 - 4:34AM

    when morally bankrupt federal and provincial Governments allow the police stations auctioned to the highest criminal SHOs, you can’t expect justice for the innocents.Recommend

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