7-year-old Zainab’s autopsy suggests child endured rape, captivity before murder, countrywide violent protest, culprit still at large
QAUR (Punjab): Another tragedy that jerk humanity and wrenched human beings in Pakistan and elsewhere on Wednesday when tragic news of rape and murder of 7-year old Zainab in Qasur (Punjab) was spread like fire of jungle. Protests and a shutter-down strike which began in Kasur on Tuesday turned violent on Wednesday and continued Thursday as residents agitated against perceived police inaction over the alleged rape and murder of the child.
The protesters resolved not to relent unless the culprit was brought to justice. It was not long before the outrage spread across other cities and to social media, with the # Justice for Zainab hash tag becoming a rallying cry. The funeral prayers of the deceased were offered Wednesday afternoon, led by Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Tahir-ul-Qadri.
A postmortem examination conducted on 7-year-old Zainab, whose body was recovered from a trash heap in Kasur days after she went missing, suggests she may have been raped before she was strangled to death. District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Medico Legal Officer (MLO) Dr Quratulain Attique said on Thursday that the examination revealed the minor girl had died of strangulation.
There were visible marks of torture on the child’s face, congestion in her muscles, and her tongue was badly bruised and injured as it was pressed between her teeth. She added that the hyoid bone as fractured, indicating strangulation. Dr Attique said the postmortem examination was performed the same day Zainab’s body was recovered-on-Tuesday-and an initial examination suggested she may have been dead for two to three days.
A reward of Rs10 million has been announced by the Punjab government for anyone who can identify Zainab’s killer. Zainab went missing on Jan 4, which means she may have been held captive by her abductors for two to four days before she was killed. Although the MLO did not explicitly confirm that the minor was raped, findings in the autopsy suggest that she may have been sexually assaulted. The minor’s hymen was ruptured, and there was also evidence to suggest the child had been so demised. There was mud, fecal matter and blood found on her body, the MLO confirmed, and samples of semen, vaginal fluid and blood were collected from her body. The samples have been sent to a lab in Lahore for testing, Dr Attique said, adding that the process of testing can take up to three months.
Dr Attique said that this is the fourth such case she has seen in the seven months she has been at DHQ Kasur. Of the four cases, only one child survived the ordeal.
The findings in all cases were similar to those in Zainab’s case. Zainab goes missing Zainab, 6, had gone to a religious tuition centre near her house in the Road Kot area last Thursday (Jan 4) from where she is believed to have been abducted. Her parents had been in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah, according to her family, and she had been living with a maternal aunt. Her parents returned to the country on Wednesday. Soon after her abduction, her panicked family had received footage showing her walking with a stranger near Peerowala Road. On Tuesday, a police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a heap of trash near the Shahbaz Khan Road. Police said the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days earlier.
A first information report had been registered against the disappearance of the girl on Jan 5, with the victim’s paternal uncle as the complainant in the case. Murder charges were added to the FIR on Jan 9, after the victim’s body was recovered. The child’s body was buried on Wednesday evening after the chief of the army staff assured her family that the criminal would not go scot-free. Protests Protestors blocked main road of the city and staged a protest demonstration aimed at seeking justice for Zainab, an eight years old girls who was raped and murdered by unknown culprits. When the protestors gathered and staged protest demonstration, local police opened fire on them as a result two protestors became victims of police bullets. Protests took place in various areas of the city against the incident. Angry protesters, chanting slogans against the authorities and demanding immediate arrest of the culprits, broke into the DC Office. Enraged protesters vandalized public property and cars inside the vicinity along with pelting stones at police officers.
Two demonstrators have been reported killed in the protest, while two others have been injured. One of the protesters shared that seven minor girls were kidnapped last year, yet the police failed to arrest a single suspect. Police said the minor, a resident of Rod Kot area of Kasur, was kidnapped on her way to a tuition centre on January 5. Her body was found in a garbage pile near Kashmir Chowk four days after her abduction. The initial postmortem report of the minor stated that she was strangled to death after being raped multiple times. The minor’s parents were in Saudi Arabia where they had gone to perform Umrah when the incident occurred.
The parents are expected to return to the country on Wednesday. Notice of tragedy Chief Justice, Supreme Court Justice Saqib Nisar, Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif have taken notice of the incident. Shehbaz Sharif, taking notice of the incident, ordered authorities to immediately arrest the culprits. The chief minister also summoned a report from IG over the matter. The culprits won’t be able to escape punishment, he said. Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief with the parents of the deceased girl. “Justice for the parents will be dispensed at all costs,” he said, adding that he will personally look after the case investigation. Meanwhile, the government of Punjab has constituted Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the innocent child Zainab’s dreadful killing. Following the orders ofthe Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif JIT has been formed and directed to submit report within 24 hours.
The committee headed by AIG Abu Bakar Khuda Bukhsh and comprised of police officials and officials of intelligence agencies. Suo motu notice After Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the brutal murder of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur, Inspector General Punjab Arif Nawaz Khan submitted a report to the Supreme Court on Thursday saying that 272 suspects have been questioned about the incident. The report said that geo-fencing data from the area was acquired and all resources are being employed to catch the culprit.
It also said a house-to-house search was being conducted based on the information provided by the last witness of the crime. It said that a case had separately been registered regarding the incident of firing on people protesting Zainab’s murder. Sections 302 and 201 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deal with wilful murder and wiping out evidence, have been included in the first information report (FIR) of the incident, the report said. A post-mortem examination of the victim, who went missing on Jan 4 and was found dead in a trash heap by police on Jan 9,suggested she was raped and strangled to death. DNA samples collected from her body have been sent to a lab in Lahore for forensic testing ─ a process that can take up to three months. 5,000 questioned Earlier, DPO Kasur, Zulfiqar Ahmed revealed that over 5,000 people have been questioned in eight cases related to minor girls being allegedly raped and then murdered in the city, while medical checkups of 67 individuals have taken place.
The official added that the police is using video from CCTV as part of the investigation. Senate committee The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has summoned the functional committee meeting on January 17 to detail review the alarming incident of a seven-year-old girl who brutally murdered after rape. According to details, committee members would detail review this matter. It was worth mentioned here that Zainab a seven-year-old girl was kidnapped six days ago from Road Kot when her parents left for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
The girl was strangled to death after being raped. JI slams tragedy Ameer, Jamaat e Islami, , Senator Siraj-ul- Haq, has strongly condemned the brutal murder of an abducted minor girl in Kasur after criminal assault and termed it the worst example of human degradation. In a statement here on Wednesday, he said that such shameful incidents had been taking place in and around Kasur since long but the rulers seemed to be totally blind. The government, he said, was not mindful of its responsibility to protect the life, honour and property of the masses as their only concern was to remain in power.
He said the persons involved in the criminal assault and murder of the minor girl were beasts and not human beings. And they must be rounded up and handed down exemplary punishment.
Siraj said that the media had great role in promoting immorality and the government must check immoral and nude scenes from the media to minimize such incidents. Police non-coperative The victim’s family yesterday accused the police of being un-cooperative when they were alerted that Zainab had gone missing.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said earlier that the joint investigation team tasked to investigate the murder has been in touch with the family and will work closely with them to solve the case. He added that at least four people have been taken into custody for “investigation purposes”, but no formal arrests had been made in the case as yet.
“We are hopeful that the culprit will be caught very soon,” the minister said. The brutal murder of the girl is the 12th such case to occur within a two-kilometre radius in the city over the last year. The surfacing of a series of similar cases since 2015 have led police to believe that a ‘serial killer’ is behind the horrific rapes and murders of minors in Kasur.
Serial killer An initial probe indicates that a ‘serial killer’ was behind all eight cases reported in the district since 2015. A rudimentary sketch of the suspect had been prepared by police in 2015 with the help of a local who spotted him as he was going to assault a minor girl in an under-construction house. A police official said that more incidents of abduction of children, including five girls, occurred in Kasur district ─ all of which were reported within the jurisdiction of three police stations – A Division, B Division and Sadar.
Three out of the eight cases, including the latest one, occurred recently. The official said a team of senior police officers had last year attempted a detailed analysis of all the cases in the light of circumstantial evidences, DNA test reports, statements of the two girls who survived the assaults, the witnesses and other relevant information.
A sketch of the suspect issued by police on Wednesday. The efforts were prompted in July 2017 when a case similar to Zainab’s surfaced. The officers had concluded that a single person was behind all the cases surfacing in the district. The view was strengthened when the investigators found a close resemblance between the man in the CCTV footage of Zainab and the culprit’s sketch in the police record. “We had started the hunt for the serial killer shortly after the first case in 2015. We had got reports of five DNA samples sent to the lab for analysis and the reports showed they belonged to the same person,” the police official said.