Zainab Ansari: Pakistani newsreader goes on air with young daughter to protest girl's rape and murder

'Today I am not Kiran Naz. Today I am a mother.'

Lydia Smith
Friday 12 January 2018 12:29
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Zainab Ansani murder: Newsreader goes on air with her daughter in protest

A newsreader in Pakistan appeared on air with her daughter to protest at the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.

“Today I am not Kiran Naz,” she said. “Today I am a mother. That’s why I am sitting with my daughter.”

She added that she had "nothing else to talk about" except Zainab Ansari, who was abducted, sexually assaulted and killed in Kasur, a city in the country's Punjab region. Her body was left in a rubbish dump

“It is true that a child's corpse is the heaviest," Ms Naz told viewers of news channel Samaa TV with her own daughter on her lap. "Today Pakistan is buried beneath the burden of the little one's funeral.”

News of Zainab's death sparked an international outcry and there have been violent protests in Kasur as well as the cities of Lahore and Karachi.

At least two people died and dozens more were injured in Kasur when protests turned violent.

Four police officers have since been arrested for firing into crowds, but the state has not confirmed whether the deaths are linked.

 Pakistani students light candles during a protest rally to condemn the rape and killing of Zainab

Punjab's Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, met with Zainab's father Ameen Ansari to hear his concerns and assured him that justice would be done, officials said.

Mr Ansari, who was on a pilgrimage to Mecca when his daughter was taken, had previously said authorities did little to try and find her.

“My relatives and neighbours told me that the police used to come, have food and leave,” he said. “While they didn’t do anything, my friends and family spent day and night looking for my daughter.”

Kasur's police chief has subsequently been fired by Mr Sharif, a state government statement said.

Footage has emerged of the last time the child was seen alive. CCTV captured Zainab, who was on her way to a religious studies class, being led away by an unknown man on the evening of 4 January.

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