Outrage Erupts Over Rape and Murder of 7 Year old Girl in Pakistan
Pakistani citizens have taken to the streets of Kasul in the past two days to protest police handling of a case involving the rape and murder of a seven year old girl. Zainab Amin’s body was found dumped on a garbage pile last week.
Kasur, a city in the province of Punjab, is notorious for a long history of scandals involving pedophilia and police inertia. Zainab was the 12th child found murdered within the past year in Kasur.
Zainab was last seen on January 4th. Police have released a CCTV image of Zainab walking while holding hands with a man whose back is turned to the camera, implying that the killer had established familiarity with her prior to the murder. The image was taken on the date of her disappearance on the road heading to Zainab’s religious tuition center 100 meters from her home.
When Zainab’s autopsy was conducted, torture marks were found on her face and her tongue was crushed between her teeth.
Pakistanis are outraged by the lack of police attention given to Zainab’s case, and protesters argue that a long and brutal history of child violence in Kasur has been ignored by officials. Many public figures have joined the protesters in calling for an end to violence against children, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and actress Mahira Khan.
Two protesters were shot on Wednesday and roads were completely blocked by the protests on Thursday. Additionally, protesters raided the office of a local politician in the ruling party, Naeem Safdar, calling for the resignation of Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of the province of Punjab.
Zainab’s close relatives are particularly outraged by the police’s handling of the case. Zainab’s father, Amin Ansari, who had been in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage with Zainab’s mother at the time of her disappearance, claimed the police did “nothing” to solve the case.
Now, according to an anonymous police official, two of Asari’s relatives have been interrogated and 26 locals are currently being questioned about Zainab’s murder. Additionally, police are waiting to conduct forensic analysis. Despite the new developments, Zainab’s family does not anticipate justice to come from the police’s actions.
Zainab’s uncle, Gulam Rasul, echoed thousands of protesters’ sentiments when he told the Guardian that they “want justice and the real culprit presented before [them].” Until Pakistani police take action in preventing violence against children, Kasul’s protesters will not be subdued.