Riots in Pakistan after minor's rape, murder

NEW DELHI (ANN Desk) - Investigations into the rape and murder of Zainab suggest that a serial killer could be behind her killing.

The alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Pakistan’s Punjab province triggered violent protests that left two people dead in police firing on Wednesday.

Kasur town, located a short distance from the border with India, had been tense after the girl disappeared on January 4 while on her way home from a tuition centre. Her parents were away on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, and her family circulated CCTV footage on social media that showed her with an unidentified man.

On Tuesday, a constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a garbage heap, with police saying she seemed to have been killed four or five days ago. Reports said she was allegedly raped multiple times before being strangled. 

Investigations into the rape and murder of Zainab suggest that a serial killer could be behind her killing.

Local media reports said the girl’s murder was the twelfth such case in Kasur over a period of one year. Kasur had hit the headlines in 2015 when a gang of paedophiles running a child sex ring was busted in the town. The gang allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted 280 children and blackmailed the families of some victims since 2009, the Hindustan Times reported.

Zainab had stepped out for her Quran recital classes when her rapist and killer got to her. Kasur police say there is a pattern behind Zainab's and eight other child killings in the area since 2015. However, they are yet to make headway into the case. 

Though incidents of abuse and murder of children had been reported in Kasur since long, the public reaction on Wednesday to Zainab’s brutal murder shook the provincial government, forcing it to employ all its resources, including the expertise of the Counter Terrorism Department, to hunt down the culprit(s), Dawn reported.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, home secretary, IGP, Additional IGs of Special Branch and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) met in the Civil Secretariat to look into the matter.

Official quarters said that 10 children, half of them girls, had been raped and murdered in Kasur in a short span of time. Police have had arrested scores of suspects. DNA tests of 20 of them were conducted but the results did not match the samples taken from the victims’ bodies.

After the government got alarmed over the high incidence of sexual assault on young boys and girls and their murders in Kasur district, it was declared that sociologists and psychologists would be engaged to dig out reasons for such heinous crime.

“Since there is a need to find out sociological roots of this crime in Kasur, we are engaging Punjab University’s Dean of Social Sciences Dr Zakria Zakir (now provisional VC), requesting him to find out why people in the district bordering India are indulging in sexual assault on minors and their murder,” Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal told Dawn after a meeting held on the issue two months ago.


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