An air of gloom, mixed with rage, hovers over Kasur, a small town situated around an hour's drive from Lahore in Pakistan, following the brutal discovery of the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab.
The girl's father, who was in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage when the incident happened, appealed to the country's chief justice and army chief to provide justice to his late daughter. "She will get justice by her God on Judgement Day when she questions her death and asks her fault".
Nobel Peace prize victor Malala Yousafzai, condemned the murder of Zainab, saying "such brutal incidents have to stop".
The Kasur district police had been looking for the culprit with no significant development so far.
Zulfiqar Hameed, the police chief in Kasur, refused to say whether the two people killed in today's clashes had died from police gunshots.
The injured have been shifted to the hospital for medical assistance whereas the security personnel are busy in dispersing the locals.
Police in Kasur say that at least five of the 12 cases are linked to one suspect who is being hunted by officers and DNA samples have been taken from approximately 90 possible suspects.
I hope and pray the culprits are not only brought to justice but made an example of.
Police said six girls have been sexually assaulted in recent months in Kasur, and many figures including actor Hamza Ali Abbasi questioned whether enough was being done to ensure authorities kept young women in the region safe.
Several Pakistani political leaders, sports and film personalities took to social media to condemn the incident and demanded justice for the girl.
- Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) January 10, 2018The condemnable & horrific rape & murder of little Zainab exposes once again how vulnerable our children are in our society.
The brutal murder of Zainab has incited anger among residents as it is the 12th such case to occur within a two kilometre radius in the city in the past year.
It has been learnt from media sources that 10 incidents of minors' rape and murders have been reported in Kasur and 11 in Sheikhupura alone a year ago. Zainab was an innocent child and she was horrifically tortured & murdered, my heart breaks for her family.