Rape, murder of 8 years old shocks Pakistan

Posted on 11 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 85

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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 Tuesday 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.

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.

< Better law and order, but human rights indicators remain alarming in Pakistan, new report points out   Kasur remains paralysed as protest against rape enters second day >

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