Outrage over minor’s rape, murder cripples Pakistani city

Islamabad: Hundreds of people blocked roads and shut down markets for a second day on Thursday to protest the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the city of Kasur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The protests against police inaction erupted on Wednesday with two demonstrators killed in clashes with the police.

“The situation is tense, but under control,” Kasur police spokesperson Mohamed Usman told Efe news agency.

The protests started a day after the body of the girl, who had gone missing last week, was found in a garbage dump.

The minor was being looked after by her uncle while her parents were away on ‘Umrah’ pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Preliminary examination of her body revealed she was sexually abused before she was killed, and led to widespread outrage in Kasur, a city that has witnessed several incidents of child abuse in recent years, including seven recent cases.

As reports of the rape and murder hit the headlines, some of the protestors went on a rampage and clashed with the police demanding public execution of the killer of the seven-year-old.

Another police spokesperson, Khalid Iqbal, said complaints have been registered against three policemen over the death of the protestors on Wednesday.

The demonstrators were among a group that allegedly tried to attack the offices of the city’s Deputy Commissioner, to which the police had responded by opening fire.

Iqbal said that the search for the girl’s killer was underway although so far they have had no credible lead.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the parents of the girl on Thursday and promised them that the guilty will be brought to justice.

In August 2015, it was discovered that 19 minors were recorded on video and photographed by a network of 17 people in Ganda Singh Wala, which falls in Kasur area.

In April 2016, an anti-terrorism court had sentenced the two accused to life imprisonment.

In March 2016, Pakistan passed a law against sexual abuse of minors and child pornography, making it punishable by up to seven years in prison.