News Analysis |
An air of misery, rage and helplessness surrounds the city of Kasur after the dead body of a minor girl, Zainab, was found dumped in a trash heap on Wednesday. She was abducted near her home on 5th January; her raped and strangled body was found near Kashmir chowk five days after her disappearance. Zainab’s brutal murder and rape sparked a huge outcry of woe and rage throughout the country with people demanding an immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the culprit.
Zainab, 6 years old, was on her way to her Quran tuition with her cousin, she and her cousin used to race to the tuition center, she was ahead of her cousin but when her cousin reached the tuition center, she was not there. CCTV footage was later obtained in which she can be seen walking with a stranger near Peerowala road. Her body was later found dumped near a construction site by a police constable.
We cannot bring back Zainab or undo the tragedy that happened to her but we can make sure that no child ever has to face the same fate as her.
Investigation reports reveal that she had been raped multiple times and later strangled to death; she was killed 4 or 5 days ago according to the report. Latest reports have stated that the killer has been arrested but no evidence has been declared yet. The minor’s brutal rape and murder prompted a huge response from all over the country. Protests erupted in Kasur city and protesters surrounded the Deputy Commissioner (DC) demanding justice for Zainab.
Read more: Child abuse continues unabated in Pakistan
To add insult to injury, police opened fire on the protesters, killing two people on the spot and injuring another. This further added fuel to the protests and protesters blocked all the major roads in Kasur. The protests have carried on for another day and the city is still paralyzed. Punjab Government has ordered the arrest of all accused Police officers in the shooting.
All 4 accused policemen who opened fired on protestors in Kasur have been arrested. Investigation is underway.
JIT is working on Zainab murder case and will apprehend all those involved in this heinous crime soon. #JusticeForZainab
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) January 10, 2018
The tragedy received widespread condemnation for all sections of society. Celebrities, politicians and ordinary citizens recorded their protest on social media using the hash tag #JusticeforZainab. All voices spoke in unison against the Kasur tragedy and demanded the government to take immediate action against the culprits.
Protests were held in all major cities of Pakistan. The Punjab Bar Council has announced the boycott of all courts today and demanded immediate action. This is the 12th such incident in a two kilometer radius in Kasur.
Heartbroken to hear about Zainab – a 7 year old child abused and brutally killed in Kasur, Pakistan. This has to stop. Gov and the concerned authorities must take action. #JusticeForZainab
— Malala (@Malala) January 10, 2018
Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri visited Kasur to offer condolences to the victim’s family. He also offered the funeral prayers of the minor girl on Wednesday. Qadri demanded immediate action against the culprit and called out the provincial government against the killing of the protesters, claiming that it was a repetition of the ‘Model town massacre’. PTI chief Imran Khan posted a video message on his Twitter account, offering condolences to the victim’s family and severely reprimanding Punjab Government and Punjab police for their gross incompetency over stopping such tragic incidents.
The total degeneration of the Punjab police was apparent once again today in Kasur when they opened fire on the unarmed protestors who were raising their voice against this horrific incident. https://t.co/w7aO2eqtun
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 10, 2018
Parents of the victim were not present in Pakistan at the time of the incident, they had gone to perform Umrah. They returned on Tuesday and requested the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and judiciary to take action against the culprit. The COAS responded to the message in ISPR’s tweet, condemning the tragedy and offering their full support to the civilian government.
Read more: Is society responsible for Zainab tragedy?
Chief Justice of Supreme Court Pakistan Saqib Mansoor took a suo-moto notice of the incident, ordered the IG Punjab to submit a report within 24 hours. Lahore High Court (LHC) had earlier also taken a suo-moto notice of the incident and demanded the submission of the incident’s report.
Latest update on #Kasur incident:
Chief Minister Punjab @CMShehbaz has constituted the Joint Investigation Team under Additional IG Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh to submit report within 24 hours. JIT includes officials from ISI & IB as well.
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) January 10, 2018
The Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif personally visited the bereaved family on Tuesday and promised not to rest until the culprits are behind bars. He also ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Additional Inspector General (AIG) Abubakar Khuda Baksh to look into the matter and submit a report within the next 24 hours. Leaders of all major political parties offered condolences and demanded immediate action against the perpetrators. A cabinet meeting on Wednesday also decided to utilize all resources to capture the culprit.
I hope and pray the culprits are not only brought to justice but made an example of. pic.twitter.com/oUxhnHjP3Q
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) January 10, 2018
The horrific crime perpetrated in Kasur is devastating. Pakistan needs to reevaluate how it deals with such crimes, especially those against children. My prayers and heartfelt sympathies with the family. We must all stand with victims of abuse. https://t.co/YLEmW5sBXU
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) January 10, 2018
The post-mortem reports reveal that the girl was raped before she was strangled. She had invisible torture marks on her body, her tongue was badly bruised and her hyoid bone was fractured. There were also indications that she had also been sodomized and held captive for a few days. This is the fourth similar case received by DHQ Kasur in the past seven months and only one girl managed to survive the ordeal.
Government should seek the help of human rights NGOs and come up with a comprehensive plan to fight child sexual abuse.
DNA samples for five similar incidents in the past reveal that they belong to the same person. The National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) severely criticized the government for their inaction against the recurrence of such incidents. The NCHR team had earlier visited Kasur in October 2017 and gave recommendations regarding the prevention of such incidents but the police didn’t follow any of their recommendations.
The NCHR report noted that both crime prevention and social protection mechanisms have failed to protect a large number of children in Kasur. Sahir NGO revealed that 129 cases of child abuse were reported in Kasur alone. 11 cases of child abuse are reported in Pakistan every day and considering the taboo around this topic, the actual numbers must be even greater. Short term measures of punishing one or two culprits are not enough in curbing the issue of child abuse in Pakistan.
CM Shahbaz visited the family of the victim, it might have provided them temporary relief but it did nothing to help save the lives of millions of Zainabs in our country.
The Kasur incident received public denunciation throughout the country but even a sensitive issue like child abuse, rape and murder was used for political point scoring. Rather than pointing out the actual causes behind these tragedies, individuals are blamed while no long term steps are taken for the eradication of such evils from the society.
CM Shahbaz visited the family of the victim, it might have provided them temporary relief but it did nothing to help save the lives of millions of Zainabs in our country. Instead of visiting, condemning and posting tweets on social media, this country needs action. We need to establish social institutes for educating the masses regarding sexual abuse.
The NCHR team had earlier visited Kasur in October 2017 and gave recommendations regarding the prevention of such incidents but the police didn’t follow any of their recommendations.
Curriculums in school should be modified and children should be taught about sexual advances from strangers. Before 2016, child abuse/rape was not recognized specifically in any law, while the legislation is now present, it needs implementation. Government should seek the help of human rights NGOs and come up with a comprehensive plan to fight child sexual abuse. We need to learn from our neighbor India and launch ad campaigns against sexual abuse of children.
The only way to defeat the menace of child abuse is by pointing out the fault lines and working together towards fixing them. We cannot bring back Zainab or undo the tragedy that happened to her but we can make sure that no child ever has to face the same fate as her.