LAHORE: It was Thursday when a little eight-year-old left her home for Quranic lessons which were in the same neighbourhood of Kasur. Five days passed and relatives continued a frantic search for the minor, but it all came to an end on Tuesday when her body was found from a garbage dump.
The eight-year-old was a resident of Road Kot, a lower-income neighbourhood of Kasur district. She had two sisters and a brother, Abuzar, who is a twelfth-grade student.
Zainab’s father, Ameen Ansari, a security guard at a local technical training institute, announced that he will not bury the body until the police arrest her killers. He asked the government and the Supreme Court to provide justice for his daughter. Speaking to The Express Tribune, her brother, Abuzar, who was devastated by his youngest sister’s murder, said she was the baby of the home. “She was an intelligent girl who was known for her little mischief. I cannot believe such an unfortunate incident has happened in our family. My parents are returning home today after offering Umrah in Saudi Arabia,” he states.
He adds that his sister, who was 12 years younger, went with her cousins of the same age for Quranic lessons at a nearby house. Her cousins left her in the middle of a street when the group entered a bakery to buy some candies.
“After a couple of hours, when Zainab’s cousins returned home after Quranic studies, we learnt that she was not with them. We have some 50 houses in the same neighbourhood and we checked with all our relatives, but were left clueless,” he recalled. “We made an announcement on the loud speaker of the mosque located in front of the house, but no information was forthcoming.”
Later, locals informed police on Emergency Helpline 15 and family members searched every under-construction house, building, graveyard and all other possible areas, but in vain. The area residents kept up the search for another two days, but found no clues.
However, on Friday evening, some CCTV footage emerged in which a person was seen whisking her away. We provided the same footage to the police, but they did not take any action. “Had the police taken timely action and arrested the culprits, my little sister would have been among us.”
Ghulam Sarwar, an uncle of the little girl, said 12 cases of a similar nature had been reported in Kasur district alone, but failed to solve even a single one. He pointed out that in most cases, DNA tests of the culprits matched, but the cops were clueless over the matter and this presented a strange set of circumstances.
“If police cannot give protection to common citizens, what is the use of such an incompetent force? Why is the government paying them millions of rupees on account of their salaries from taxpayers’ money?” the uncle asked.
Rehmatullah, another relative, highlighted that almost 150 boys conducted the search operation in the area to find clues of the rape victim’s whereabouts because the family and locals had no trust in the police force.
“We checked garbage piles behind the Zaki Bus Adda several times, but could not find any clues. It is very strange that after a couple of days, Mohafiz Force officials recovered her body from the same garbage pile. I believe such incidents cannot happen without police involvement,” he alleged.
Courtesy-The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2018.