Those eyes were full of wishes… full of hope and full of innocence.
The whole country was shaken…. as it looked at that picture of the seven-year-old Zainab Ansari who was brutally raped, killed and thrown into a trash heap in her native city of Kasur.
Gory details of the horrific rape and killing of the child emerged on mainstream media soon after the hashtag #JusticeForZainab started trending on social media.
Riots broke out in Kasur in which two people were killed.
The case ….
It was the twelfth such case to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.
The case was a typical case of child abuse and murder, the likes of which the city has seen many times before. The details that emerged were of police apathy, lack of concern among law enforcement agencies and of collective failure of authorities to curb such incidents.
How does one even begin to process this. The eleventh case of abduction, rape and murder of a child in Kasur. In just this last year. In the district responsible for the largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan’s history. My God, Zainab. Our collective apathy failed you.
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) January 10, 2018
Truth is Zainab could be anyone of our children. & we would be helpless. Why? Because we allow sick patriarchal, feudal ideas to exist about women, because we fail to educate our boys how to respect, love & feel, towards girls & women. Because our laws do NOT protect our children
— Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) January 9, 2018
Just heard this horrific news, this happens way too often in our world and it’s time we demand change and justice! We need to raise our boys to be men, we need to raise our children to live in a world that is equal, a world with justice. We must fight! #JusticeForZainab pic.twitter.com/oG0UxlcOZY
— Hadiqa Kiani (@Hadiqa_Kiani) January 10, 2018
The details, they were horrific….
Zainab was seen on a CCTV camera being led away by a man on January 4.
In their frantic hunt for the daughter over the next five days, as Zainab’s parents were performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia, the family shared the CCTV footage on social media widely but couldn’t get the girl back as her body was found from a garbage heap near their home.
This was not all, then came the autopsy report.
The autopsy report stated that she was raped multiple times, there were marks of torture on the child’s face, congestion in her muscles and indicated that the child died due to strangulation.
‘Police only had tea and oranges’
Relatives and people of the area told ARY News anchor Iqrar-ul-Hassan that police neither cooperated with the neighbourhood teams formed to find Zainab nor acted promptly when provided with “proofs” by the girl’s family.
Residents of the area, who claimed to have formed vigilance teams to find Zainab, claimed that police only enjoyed “oranges and tea” in the neighbourhood and didn’t even cooperate with the vigilance teams.
“We gave them two videos from CCTV cameras, the one in which he (the criminal) is taking Zainab to some unknown place and the other in which he is coming back from the place. They took the clips and did nothing about it… one can assume that they threw them into the trash. They should have cordoned off that area, they should have ordered plain clothed policemen to roam the area, if I, as a layman can understand all this, how can they forget to take such measures?” asked Zainab’s father Ameen Ansari during ARY News’ ‘Sar-e-Aam’ show on January 13.
Zainab’s father was of the view that the criminal would not have only been arrested but her daughter could have been saved.
11 other girls were kidnapped, abused and killed in the very same way before with police failing to nab the criminals behind the incidents.
One of the victims Noor Fatima’s father Mustafa too spoke to Sar-e-Aam and narrated his ordeal.
PPP’s Sherry Rehman submitted a call-to-attention notice in Senate. Then a PTI lawmaker, Murad Saeed submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly, calling for the scheduled proceedings of the lower house to be postponed.
PPP, MQM-P, PML-F and PTI leaders also submitted a resolution in the Sindh Assembly condemning Zainab’s murder.
What followed the continuous protests and social media anger was a state-level investigation, formation of a JIT and the most speedy trial in the history of the country.
THE MEMORIES OF THE LITTLE ANGEL
Zainab Used To Dutifully Attend Salam after every Friday prayers
“After every Friday prayers, when we used to recite Salam on Holy Prophet (PBUH), Zainab would find me in the mosque, everyone in the mosque knows Zainab used to dutifully recite the salam in the mosque but today there was no Zainab……” Zainab’s father who couldn’t hold his tears told ARY News on January 13
The Rapist Arrested And Executed
Police confirmed on January 13 that the results of DNA testing of samples collected from the crime scenes pointed towards the involvement of one culprit in at least seven similar cases in Kasur.
On January 21, the Supreme Court gave three days’ time to a joint investigation team formed to probe the rape and murder of Zainab to track down the culprit.
The Joint Investigation Team formed to arrest the culprit nabbed a man named Imran Arshad on January 23 after the DNA proved that he was behind the rape and murder of Zainab and at least eight other girls from Kasur.
A representative of Punjab Forensice Science Agency (PFSA) briefed the media about how Imran Arshad was arrested.
In a step by step guide to the process, the PFSA representative said that the team received the DNA sample on January 20, 2018 and then the sample was processed for next two days while the completion of DNA profiling was done on January 22.
He maintained that the PFSA crime scene teams camped at Kasur and collected samples of male population aged 20-45 years in 2.5 kilometer radius of the crime scene. 1150 samples were received and the sample no. 814 was of Imran Arshad which was received on January 20.
Explaining the DNA profile probablity, the PFSA representative said that the Random Match Probability of the DNA profile of Imran Arshad is 01 in 178 Quadrillion.
“It means if there are 178 Quadrillion male people at one place, chance of having this profile is only 1 which is Imran’s DNA profile,” said the PFSA representative.
An Anti-Terrorism Court on February 17 handed down Imran Arshad death sentence on four counts, following a four-day jail trial at Kot Lakhpat Jail.
Imran Ali was also indicted and sentenced to death in the rape and murder cases of at least six other minor girls.
He subsequently filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court challenging the death sentence handed to him in the Zainab case in February, claiming that his trial was not fair.
The LHC rejected his appeal and upheld the trial court’s conviction. He then appealed to the Supreme Court against the conviction.
On June 12, the SC rejected Ali’s appeal against the death sentence handed to him for the rape and murder of Zainab, noting that the petitioner had admitted committing similar offences with eight other minor victims and “in that backdrop, he did not deserve any sympathy in the matter of his sentences”.
As a last resort, he sought clemency from President Arif Alvi, but his plea was rejected on October 10.
Imran Ali was executed in the presence of Zainab’s father, Muhammad Amin Ansari and her uncle in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison.
Speaking to the media, father Amin Ansari said he is satisfied as the murderer of her daughter met his fate.
He said whoever will commit such felony will meet a similar fate, adding that such convicts be hanged publicly to ensure that such crimes don’t happen in future.
The young girl left us all with questions….
Questions we all cannot answer….
Yes, we all took steps… from the government to the common man, everyone took some steps to educate children about the reality of child abuse.
Those eyes, they will forever haunt the January, every January this country will ever see!
We all are extremely sorry, Dear Zainab!