By: Rasheed Ahmad Shaikh
On January 4, a seven-year-old girl went missing. She was last seen outside a tuition centre, barely a few minutes away from her uncle’s house in Kasur, Punjab.
Five days later her lifeless body was recovered from a trash heap. According to a preliminary post-mortem report, the little girl was raped multiple time before being strangled to death.
Her distraught father, who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia, made a public appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar J. Bajwa. Both responded within hours. The COAS directed “immediate all-out support to civil administration to arrest the criminals and bring them to exemplary justice,” tweeted Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the director general of the public relations wing of the Army. A little while later, the Chief Justice took suo moto notice and ordered the head of Punjab’s police to compile and submit a report of the tragic incident within 24 hours.
Outside the little girl’s home, people who knew her, people who knew her parents and people who had never met her, all gathered to stage a protest against the government’s negligence. Angry demonstrators, who went rampaging around the city, demanded the culprits be immediately located and locked up. Some wanted a public hanging. Others simply wanted justice.
Inside the girl’s home, her framed pictures, clothes, toys and notebooks lie abandoned. When she was alive she loved to read and write, say her parents. On Jan 4, the day she was kidnapped, she wrote these last words in her Urdu workbook:
I am a girl.
My name is Zainab.
My father’s name is Ameen.
I am seven-years-old.
I live in Kasur.
I love mangoes.