Outcry

Girl, 7, brutally raped and killed, prompting violent clashes in Pakistan

Slain Pakistani girl Zainab Ansari. (Twitter)

Protests and clashes broke out in the Pakistani cities of Lahore, Karachi and Kasur this week amid a public outcry over the brutal rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl. News cameras captured footage of the violent demonstrations between police and protesters, which have reportedly claimed the lives of at least two people and left several others injured.

The unrest erupted in the wake of the death of Zainab Ansari, 7, from Kasur in the eastern Punjab province. Ansari  went missing last week after she left her home to attend a class on Quranic studies. On Tuesday, police found Ansari’s corpse, which had been disposed of at a garbage dump. Conflicting reports about Ansari’s age have emerged, putting her anywhere between 6 and 8 years old. Ansari’s parents were out of the country at the time of her disappearance, visiting Saudia Arabia on a religious pilgrimage. Authorities said they discovered surveillance footage of Ansari being led away by a mysterious man. Police reportedly said she had been raped and strangled to death.

According to The Daily Mail, the rape and killing of Ansari is the sixth such case to occur involving a young child in Kasur over the last year, which has led many to criticize the police for not doing enough to stop the violence. The girl’s father, Ameen Ansari, accused police of being slow to respond after his daughter was reported missing, CBS News reported. According to CBS News, the police chief of Kasur was fired for negligence in his handling of the case and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited with Ansari’s parents, who have returned home, and promised them justice would be served.

Pakistani residents carry the body of Zainab Ansari during her funeral in Kasur in Punjab Province on January 10, 2018, following her rape and murder. (GHAZI AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)

“We will not bury our daughter until her killers are arrested,” her father vowed, according to The Independent, however a funeral for her went ahead on Wednesday. Thousands attended and the young girl’s body was carried through the streets.

The outrage over Ansari’s killing also spread to Twitter, where the hashtag #Justice4Zainab trended amid calls for her killer to be brought to justice. Malala Yousafzai expressed her heartbreak and concern that the government must take greater action.

And on television news, an anchor took the protest a step further by bringing her young daughter on camera with her during a newscast on Pakistan’s Samaa TV. Kiran Naz struck a with viewers with her pointed remarks, NDTV reported. “Today I am not Kiran Naz. Today I am a mother. That’s why I am sitting with my daughter,” she said at the beginning of her segment, which ran about two minutes. “It is true that a child’s corpse is the heaviest. Today Pakistan is buried beneath the burden of the little one’s janaza (funeral),” according to a translation by NDTV. Watch the emotional segment below.

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