The sexual abuse and murder of children, primarily girls but boys as well, has reached epidemic proportions, not words that we use lightly. Although Kasur is identified as the general location of many of these crimes, it is not difficult to plot a map that shows that they occur in every province, no exceptions. Today the nation is gripped by grief and anger at the rape and murder of eight-year-old Zainab, kidnapped on her way to religious studies and found days later on a rubbish dump. The full horror of her ordeal before she died is emerging with the autopsy report that she was raped and finally strangled to death. She had probably been dead two or three days when found. She was being cared for by a maternal aunt while her parents were performing Umrah, and they returned home to find themselves and their dead daughter at the centre of a media storm that is going to scar them for life.
Appalling as the case is its very ordinariness is even more so. Another child was raped and killed in Sargodha the day after Zainab was found. The area around Kasur appears to be home to a man or men who are serial rapists and murderers of girls between six and 10 years; and there has been on average a murder a month since early 2017. There are DNA matches that link a perpetrator in all the cases. In Zainab’s case, there is CCTV footage that may show her with her abductor. He is in all likelihood a local man.
Once again the police appear to be getting nowhere fast. There is a wealth of evidence in their hands but they lack the willpower, the expertise or the all-important political support to advance the case beyond crocodile tears and handwringing. The people of Kasur are rightly outraged, and they have protested many times in the past but to no avail. It is no exaggeration to say that there is a monster on the loose. Find him and stop this chain of horror, and do it fast.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2018.