Police hunting killer who raped and strangled six-year-old Zainab in Pakistan issue sketch of the murderer as judge orders investigators to catch him within 36 hours
- Zainab Ansari's body was found dumped on a rubbish heap in Kasur on Tuesday
- The six-year-old girl disappeared on January 4 while on her way to a Koran class
- Zainab was last seen alive in CCTV footage that day being led away by a man
- There have been 10 similar cases that have rocked Kasur since January last year
Police hunting for the man who raped and strangled a six-year-old girl in Pakistan have released a sketch of the suspect after a judge ordered authorities to catch him within 36 hours.
Zainab Ansari was found dumped on a rubbish heap after being raped and murdered in Kasur, eastern Punjab.
The child's horrific murder sparked outrage across the country and led to thousands of people taking to the streets of Kasur, Lahore and Karachi in protest.
Investigators believe she may have been held captive for days after she disappeared on her way to a Koran class on January 4. Her body was found a mile from her home five days later.
Police released a sketch of the suspect after CCTV footage captured a man walking hand in hand with the little girl that day.
It comes after the Lahore High Court ordered the Inspector General Punjab to arrest the killer within 36 hours.
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Police have stepped up the hunt for six-year-old Zainab's (pictured right) killer and released a sketch (left) after a judge ordered them to find the perpetrator within 36 hours
At a press conference on Friday, government spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan vowed to bring Zainab's murderer to justice.
After a meeting with Zainab's father Anees, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif sacked Kasur's police chief for negligence.
Mr Ansari accused the police of being slow to respond after his daughter was reported missing.
Zainab was kidnapped on her way to a Koran recital while her parents were in Mecca on a religious pilgrimage.
Speaking at Islamabad airport as he arrived back in the country, Mr Ansari said, as his wife sobbed: 'We will not bury Zainab until the killer is caught.
'If the police would have acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught,' he said.
'Police are not cooperating with us,' Ghulam Rasool, Zainab's uncle, said on Thursday.
'We want justice. We want the culprit to be brought in front of us. We don't want an innocent to be presented as the culprit and killed just to wash this case.'
CCTV footage captured a man walking hand in hand with the little girl the day she disappeared
According to a police document obtained by the BBC, there have been 10 similar cases in Kasur since January last year.
Traces of the same DNA have been recovered from six of the victims, including Zainab's body.
All six of those victims were young girls who went missing close to their homes and all of their remains were found in rubbish dumps or abandoned houses. They all lived within a two mile radius.
A post-mortem examination revealed Zainab died of strangulation with local media reporting examiners found evidence of torture.
Doctors said the young girl's hyoid bone had been fractured, which strongly suggests she had been strangled.
According to Dawn.com, Dr Quaratulain Attique - who conducted the examination - said it was likely Zanaib may have been dead for two or three days by the time her body was recovered on Tuesday.
There is evidence that the six-year-old girl was sexually assaulted before her murder, the post-mortem found.
Dr Attique said it was the fourth case of its type she had seen in the Kasur region over the past seven months. Only one of the children survived their ordeal.
Five previous victims have been linked to one suspect and police believe Zainab may be number six, but further investigation is needed, BBC Radio4's Today Show reported on Thursday.
Pakistani students protest during a rally condemning the rape and killing of Zainab Ansari
Anees Ansari, Zainab's father, accused the police of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing.
The protests against police inaction had erupted on January 10 with two demonstrators killed in clashes with the police
On Wednesday night, Kiran Naz dedicated the 7pm news broadcast on Samaa TV to Zainab, and criticised authorities over the fact that the killer still walks free.
'Today I am not Kiran Naz. Today I am a mother. That's why I am sitting with my daughter,' Ms Naz said as reported by NDTV.com.
'I have nothing else to talk about today, except Zainab,' she said at the end of a nearly two-minute-long clip.
'It is true that a child's corpse is the heaviest. Today Pakistan is buried beneath the burden of the little one's funeral.
Kiran Naz presented SAMAA TV's news broadcast with her daughter on her lap and dedicated it to Zainab
Zainab's murder caused outrage in Pakistan, and violent mass protests have been shaking Kasur, located in Punjab province, since her body was found.
Hundreds of protesters hurled projectiles at a hospital, attacked the home of at least one local politician, and complained of police inaction.
On Wednesday, at least two protesters were killed when police fired into the crowd of demonstrators as they tried to storm a government building in Kasur,
'Up to 1,000 protesters are in the streets,' Kasur police spokesman Muhammad Sajid said.
'They have thrown stones on the buildings of the government hospital, police and deputy commissioner's office... Security is deployed and trying to control the situation.'
Remembering: People lights candles during a memorial for Zainab in Islamabad, Pakistan
Anger: Hundreds of people blocked roads and shut down markets for a second day in the city of Kasur to demand justice for Zainab
Spreading: Men and women hold banners and photos depicting Zainab during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan
The demonstrators accused police of failing to act over the child murders.
Sajid said that up to 20 suspects had been apprehended 'but the investigators have been unable to find any clue so far'.
Protest: People hold placards reading in Urdu 'Protest against the murder and rape of innocent girl Zainab in Kasur' during a protest against the rape and murder
Anger: People burn tyres during Wednesday's protests which saw government buildings under attack and at least two people killed
Chief Minister of the province of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, hugs Zainab's father Ameen Ansari
Pakistanis expressed their shock on social media using the hashtag 'JusticeForZainab.'
Among those voicing anger was the cricket star and politician Imran Khan who tweeted: 'The condemnable & horrific rape & murder of little Zainab exposes once again how vulnerable our children are in our society.
'This is not the first time such horrific acts have happened. We have to act swiftly to punish the guilty & ensure that our children are better protected.'
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai wrote that she was 'heartbroken to hear about Zainab.'
'This has to stop. Gov and the concerned authorities must take action,' she added.
Ihtisham ul Haq, summed up many people's exasperation at a lack of progress in finding the killer.
'The picture of Zainab's rapist & killer is clearly captured. Why he is still roaming freely? Can our agencies and authorities capture him?', he tweeted.
Pakistanis expressed their shock on social media using the hashtag 'JusticeforZainab'
'Can we please catch this animal and punish him publicly? Can we do something to protect our children?'
Firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who took part in the girl's funeral service, demanded the local government be replaced, saying it has 'no right to remain in power after the killing of Zainab Ansari.'
In a speech to thousands of mourners, he blamed the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, for failing to 'protect lives and honour of innocent girls' in the province.
He issued an ultimatum to Mr Sharif and Mr Sanaullah to step down by January 17 to avoid street protests.
The cleric is a staunch political rival of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party and he has led violent rallies in the capital, Islamabad, since 2014 after eight of his supporters were killed in anti-government rallies in Lahore, Punjab's provincial capital.
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