KASUR: Thousands of enraged people on Thursday continued their protest in Kasur for a third consecutive day over the ‘failure of authorities to protect their children’, as the police failed to make any headway in the probe into the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl.
Protests erupted in Kasur on Tuesday when little Zainab, who had gone missing on Saturday, was at last discovered – raped, dead, and buried in garbage.
The protests turned violent on Wednesday when policemen opened fire at protestors outside the DC office, killing two and injuring as many.
The protests continued to paralyse life in Kasur on Thursday with all government offices, educational institutes and markets remaining closed and angry protestors reigning over the roads and streets of the city.
Ferozpur Road from Mustafabad to Kasur was blocked at various points by flocks of baton-wielding protestors, who were burning tyres and chanting slogans against the police and government. The main protest was held in front of DHQ Hospital and Shahbaz Chowk.
The passions ran particularly high during funeral prayers for the two men killed in police firing. The prayers were led by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi at College Ground.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers, announcements for which were made throughout the city from mosques and rickshaws. An FIR was also lodged against the killing of one of the victims of police firing, Shoaib Islam, at B-Division police station.
The Punjab government also offered Rs3 million to the families of each victim.
While the funeral prayers were being offered, an angry mob also attacked the office of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Naeem Safdar Ansari. They set a vehicle on fire, broke the building’s window panes and damaged other properties.
During the protests, people also scuffled with the police in which a number of people were injured. The mob also attacked members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which was formed to carry out a probe into the incident.
The police later rounded up around a dozen people allegedly involved in the attack.
The Punjab government established the JIT under additional Inspector General Abu Bakar Khuda Baksh to investigate the matter. Victim’s father Amin Ansari, however, refused to accept Baksh as head of the JIT.
At least 11 cases of rape and murder of minor girls have been reported in Kasur since January 2017. The minors were killed after being raped in six of the cases. The police have claimed to have solved six cases while suspects in five cases are yet to be identified.
According to an officer, in many cases there was a similarity in the pattern and modus operandi. All the victims, who were murdered after rape, were aged between five and nine years. They had gone missing for a few days before being killed and theirs bodies had been recovered from abandoned places.
Almost all the cases had occurred within a radius of a few kilometers.
An official of the special branch told The Express Tribune that the facts suggested that the culprit was a local person, much familiar with the city and its life. “At least 200 to 300 officials in civvies have been after the suspect for months, but all their efforts to spot him have failed,” he said.
However, another police officer contradicted this claim, saying that almost everyone had seen the CCTV footage in which the suspect was spotted taking the victim along. “If he were a local resident, people would have identified and spotted him,” he said.