Zainab Ansari killing: Two people died in Pakistan protests over the alleged rape and murder of eight-year-old girl

'We will not bury our daughter until her killers are arrested,' girl's father Ameen says, as thousands gather for her funeral

Alina Polianskaya
Wednesday 10 January 2018 16:50 GMT
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Police open fire during protests in Pakistan's Kasur district over the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl

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Two people died and dozens more have been injured in clashes in Pakistan after the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.

Angered by the perceived lack of arrests over the death of Zainab Ansari, hundreds took to the streets of the city of Kasur in eastern Punjab.

Some attacked a police station and government buildings while local TV cameras captured others throwing rocks and smashing car windows with sticks.

Ansari went missing on her way to her religious studies tuition, earlier this week. Police said she was raped, and that her body was found dumped in a pile of rubbish.

They said six girls have been sexually assaulted in the region in recent months, and they were investigating whether there was a connection between the cases.

Ansari's parents, who had been at a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia at the time of her disappearance, have returned to Pakistan.

“We will not bury our daughter until her killers are arrested," her father Ameen Ansari said.

A funeral service was nonetheless later held for the girl, and attended by thousands of people.

Cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri who took part in the service, called for the local government to be replaced and blamed the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, for failing to “protect lives and honour of innocent girls” in the province.

Violence erupted before the funeral and police fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse protesters.

Local TV captured one officer asking to halt the direct fire, while a second officer continued.

Kasur's police chief Zulfiqar Hameed declined to say whether the two people killed in the clashes had died from police gunshots.

Ansari's murder also sparked widespread outcry on social media, with thousands calling for the culprit to be brought to justice, and the hastag #Justice4Zainab trending on Twitter.

Facing calls from his political rivals to step down or face further street protests, chief minister Sharif also took to the social media site. He said he was “deeply pained" to hear about the case, adding: "Those societies that cannot protect its children are eternally condemned. Not going to rest till the perpetrators of this dastardly act are apprehended & given severest possible punishment under the law."

Additional reporting by agencies.

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