In keeping with a request made by 6-year-old Zainab’s father to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the head of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the rape and murder of the child was changed on Friday.
On Thursday, Zainab’s father, Muhammad Amin, an ardent supporter of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Dr Tahirul Qadri, had expressed dissatisfaction with the nomination of the police officer heading the JIT and requested that he be replaced.
The Punjab Government issued a notice to this effect and Deputy Inspector Police Mohammad Idrees was appointed to lead the probe team.
Idrees replaced Punjab police Additional Inspector General Abubakar Khuda Bux as the head of the body.
Four senior officers, including Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer Zulfiqar Hameed, were appointed as the JIT’s members. On Thursday, the team’s scope was expanded as three more senior police officers were included.
Zainab goes missing, is found murdered
Zainab, 6, had gone to a religious tuition centre near her house in the Road Kot area last Thursday (Jan 4) from where she is believed to have been abducted. Her parents had been in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah, according to her family, and she had been living with a maternal aunt. Her parents returned to the country on Wednesday.
Soon after her abduction, her panicked family had received footage showing her walking with a stranger near Peerowala Road.
On Tuesday, a police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a heap of trash near the Shahbaz Khan Road.
Police said the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days earlier.
A first information report had been registered against the disappearance of the girl on Jan 5, with the victim’s paternal uncle as the complainant in the case. Murder charges were added to the FIR on Jan 9, after the victim’s body was recovered.
The child’s body was buried on Wednesday evening after the chief of army staff assured her family that the criminal would not go scot-free.
On Thursday, a postmortem examination conducted on the minor confirmed that Zainad had died of strangulation and was sexually assaulted before she was killed.
Riots had broken out in Kasur after Zainab’s body was found on Tuesday. Residents had agitated against perceived police inaction over the rape and murder of the child.
A day later, the protests turned violent as about 200 protesters ─ armed with sticks and stones and led by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah ─ clashed with police. At least two people died of gunshot wounds on Wednesday. Six people, including four policemen and two civil defence personnel, were arrested.
Protests are expected to continue for a third day on Friday.