LAHORE: LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah today took notice of the alleged rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kasur which has sparked protests and outrage both in the city and on social media.
Zainab, 8, was last known to have attended a tuition centre near her house in the Road Kot area last Thursday, after which she was allegedly abducted. Zainab’s parents had gone to perform Umrah and, according to the family, were scheduled to return that very day.
Her panicked family received footage showing her with a stranger near Peerowala Road, a video which has since gone viral on social media. On Tuesday, a police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a heap of trash near Shahbaz Khan Road.
Police said the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days ago, and sent her body to the District Headquarters Hospital for an autopsy where a number of people had gathered. Police had reluctantly handed her body over to the family due to apprehension over a protest.
Regional Police Officer (RPO) Kasur Zulfikar Muhammad confirmed today that the girl was strangled to death. He told the media that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed the forensic lab to expedite the process for Zainab’s autopsy.
“Naturally, there is also a certain amount of time that the processing will take; there is a certain amount of time that the lab takes,” he said.
The alleged rape and murder of the minor girl ─ the 12th such incident to occur in Kasur within a two kilometre radius in the past year ─ has ignited protests and a shutter-down strike in the city since Tuesday.
As word got around, traders shuttered their shops and staged a protest demonstration. Scores of other people also gathered at Steel Bagh Mor near the hospital and protested with the girl’s body in the middle of the road. They also threw traffic out of gear by burning tires on Ferozepur Road and chanted slogans against police and local parliamentarians for their alleged apathy.
Today, enraged citizens armed with sticks and stones stormed the deputy commissioner’s office in protest over police inaction. According to local reports, two protesters were killed and two others injured during the protest.
People from other parts of the county took to social media to share their anger and outrage over the murder, using the hashtag #JusticeForZainab.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah appealed for calm, saying the provincial government had “taken notice of the case”. He also said: “People need to keep their emotions in check and not aggravate the situation,”
Sanaullah said the culprit seems to be an acquaintance of the family. He added that a child’s safety is its parents’ responsibility.
Rights activist Farzana Bari observed that people “feel unsafe” and “have lost all trust in state institutions”. She also pointed out that “These people that are protesting do not have a leader, they are not being led, and they are all protesting because they feel unsafe.”
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Mian Mehmoodur said the culprits in such cases “should be found and hanged” so that such incidents don’t occur again.
Philanthropist Sarim Burney accused those in power of only being concerned about “safeguarding” their power, whereas those not in power seem interested only in attaining it.”Why is the PTI not protesting now? Why is Tahirul Qadri silent? He has been concerned about his 14 people (victims of the Lahore Model Town tragedy), however he has nothing to say about these children,” he lamented.
FLOW OF TRAGIC EVENTS:
1) FIR was registered on Jan 4, the day the girl went missing.
2) CCTV footage of girl with a stranger circulated on social media.
3) Police find girl (allegedly raped and murdered) in trash heap on Tuesday.
4) Police confirm that girl was strangled.
5) Citizens stage protest, shutter-down strike in Kasur.
6) Social media outrage over police inaction.
7) LHC CJ, Punjab CM, Senate take notice of case.
8) Protesters storm DC office demanding action.
9) Three protesters killed during clashes with LEAs.
Kasur’s Serial-Killing-Pedophile still at large: Relatives of eight (raped and murdered) girls appear before SC!
LAHORE: Parents and relatives of those eight girls who had been raped and murdered in Kasur since 2015 appeared before the SC bench at the registry here today asking for justice.
On request from the investigation agencies, the CJP has given them 72 hours to nab the culprit. The three-member bench headed by CJP is hearing a suo motu case of the rape & murder of Zainab, whose body was found from a garbage heap in Kasur on ninth day of this month. Court took notice the very next day.
The bench – that has again been told that eight girls had so far been raped and murdered in Kasur by one single pedophile serial killer (as per DNA reports) – reiterated that if the Police had taken action back in 2015 (when the first murder was reported) lives of other seven kids could have been saved.
The court asked what the police was doing while so many incidents were taking place repeatedly within the remit to two police stations?
Court, unsatisfied by the ongoing investigation, has asked why the SHO not removed despite repeated incidents and complaints from citizens.
Cynics go haywire wondering:
i) How could the nation expect any professional action from policemen who themselves had bought the job under the very noses of those who lament inaction? (Reportedly one can buy a constable’s job for half a million rupees, become ASI paying three and a half million and so on and so forth);
II) The Police Stations are sold; Extra-Judicial Killings are rampant; Policemen drawing meagre salaries live in palatial houses’
iii) The very moment a person enters a court (no matter which) he/she pays his way right from the lowest clerk to the highest authority to get his file move. How could court that has failed to weed-out corruption from the very institution it operates in expect imandaree from Police or other institutions?
When the court was told that tissues was acquired of 800 possible suspects for DNA tests, Police has been asked to use its conventional methods to nab the culprits instead of acquiring tissues of 21 million Pakistanis for DNA tests.
RELEVANT PIECES PUBLISHED EARLIER
Kabul hotel cleared, 3 Taliban killed: Pakistan condemns attack!
ISLAMABAD: Fallowing killing of three Taliban attackers, LEA’s have declared Intercontinental Hotel Kabul cleared.
Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs while condemning the attack held: “Pakistan strongly condemns the brutal terrorist attack at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul last evening. We express deep grief and sorrow at the loss of precious human lives and the injuring of many others in this terrorists act.
“The Government and the people of Pakistan convey solidarity and support with the Government and people of Afghanistan at this dastardly terrorist attack. We convey our deepest sympathies for those who have lost their loved ones and our sincere prayers and wishes are of early recovery of those who have sustained injuries in this heinous terror attack.
“We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In our view, cooperation among the states is important for effectively combating and eliminating the scourge of terrorism”.
Pakistan condemns the terrrorist attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul pic.twitter.com/rQk4VtLROM
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) January 21, 2018
Meanwhile, TOLO news has taken to twitter to comment on the state of affairs:
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) January 21, 2018
RELEVANT PIECE PUBLISHED EARLIER
KABUL: Eight Taliban militants kill five guests at Intercontinental Hotel!
KABUL: Flames could be seen coming out of the 4th floor of Intercontinental Hotel here as an attack is being carried out by four gunmen and four suicide bombers presently.
According to a source in the National Directorate of Security the fourth floor had been set on fire by the attackers.
Till filing of this piece five people were confirmed dead and eight injured. Afghan LEAs had claimed to have rescued about a hundred hostages.
Sources privy to Newspakistan.tv have informed that the siege still continues.
It is pertinent to mention here that in its 18th January, 2018 tweet US State Department had issued a security alert stating that extremist groups might be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul:
Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int'l Airport. Review suggested actions in attached image. For more information, visit: https://t.co/vxivPWIHOP pic.twitter.com/CrCIpXbC2e
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 18, 2018
Readers may recall that seven Taliban militants stormed the very hotel in the month of June, 2011 killing ten of its occupants. All the attackers were also gunned down (File Photo).