Zainab’s murder has opened a pandora’s box in Pakistan. Ever since the incident, there has been an increased number of reports detailing kidnapping, sexual abuse and murder of young children throughout the nation.
Even though this is not the first incident of child abduction and rape to arise from Kasur, a city to the south of Lahore, Zainab’s death has rightly enraged the general public, resulting in riots and candle lit vigils to be held for the late 6 year old.
Zainab was kidnapped on the 4th of January 2018. Her dead body was discovered from a garbage pile five days later. The post mortem report showed that the victim had been raped and murdered. Many resorted to blaming the brother and relatives who had been entrusted with Zainab’s care while the parents where away to perform holy pilgrimage. A few even held Zainab’s parents responsible for negligence and her subsequent murder. However, both parties failed to realise that the blame lies only with the perpetrator of this heinous crime and that Zainab’s family along with Zainab are the victims in this case.
On 10th January, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar took suo moto notice of this incident and submit a report to the court within 24 hours. The Chief Justice remarked that the head of the entire nation hangs in shame over the heinous incident and it is a matter of disgrace for the entire country. Following the Chief Justice’s orders, the Punjab Police submitted it’s report regarding the kidnapping and the ongoing investigation. DNA samples were collected and compared to those taken from previous cases, CCTV footage was obtained and suspects were questioned.
Zainab’s father address the press:
On Sunday, Zainab’s father Muhammad Ameen complained that not a single arrest had been made regarding his daughter’s case. While speaking to GeoNews a day after Zainab’s body was discovered, Ameen stated that had the police acted promptly, his daughter could have been saved. However, on Monday (today) Ameen addressed a press conference and said that he was satisfied with the progress being made by the Punjab Government. He also stated that he was being kept abreast regarding the developments made by the police.
On Monday (today) the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC), Mansoor Ali Shah, commented that the Punjab Government and the police have not taken the minor’s case seriously. He stated – “Had the government taken action against similar suspects earlier, the present incident would not have occurred.”
Conflicting CCTV footage discovered:
Another CCTV footage of a ‘person of interest’ in the case has been discovered by the police. The suspect in the new video seems to have physical characteristics different from the man seen in the first video. Furthermore, this video has a timestamp of 17:27 while Zainab was allegedly kidnapped at 19:00. While the video has showed up on multiple media platforms, the police have not disclosed it’s source as yet.
The public, along with Zainab’s family, is outraged by the slow progress being made regarding the investigation. Many have asked for the public execution of the perpetrators to prevent such crimes from taking place in the future.
It’s time to talk to your children
Zainab’s case and other incidents of child sexual abuse have sparked conversations regarding the lack of appropriate eduction in schools and at home. Dispensing knowledge about body safety, sex-ed and consent is much needed in Pakistan. These topics, while generally considered taboo, need to be emphasised on, so that children may be aware when their boundaries are being violated.
Zainab and her family members remain in our prayers and we hope that the culprits are brought to justice soon.