NEW DELHI: She was on her way to Quran recital classes when abducted by an unidentified man in Kasur district of Pakistan's Punjab province. Her parents were also not home and travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah -a lesser pilgrimage to Hajj.
Four days after she went missing, her body was recovered from a garbage bin and post autopsy report it was established that the seven-year-old Zainab Ansari was raped multiple times before being strangulated to death.
One of the victim's relatives said that his son, Osman, and Zainab would often race to reach their Khala's (Aunt) house to read Quran, as to who'll get there first. But on that fateful evening, Zainab went out and was kidnapped on the way. Her body was found about 2km from her home.
The footage showing Zainab being led by the hand by a man was circulated widely on social media.
Zainab's brutal murder had entire Pakistan in shock on Wednesday. From PTI chief Imran Khan to Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yusufzai, all condemned the horrific act and urged the government that the culprit be nabbed and given exemplary punishment for this heinous crime.
Clashes erupted between the police and protesting mob from Kasur, where people demanding #JusticeForZainab threw stones and fired bullets at a local police station alleging that the cops were late to act on the complaint filed by Zainab's relatives about her going missing.
"If the police would have acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught," Geo TV quoted Zainab's father as saying.
Two people were killed by gunshot after protesters stormed the deputy commissioner's office in Kasur. Two others sustained bullet injuries. Four policemen and two civil defence personnel, who allegedly opened fire at the protesters have been arrested, Dawn reported.
It is said that not the police but the victim's family on their own recovered the CCTV footage in which the accused was seen holding Zainab by her hand and walking away.
What reports emerging from Pakistan suggest is that several such crimes have been reported from this area in past two years. According to a report, from Kasur 11 minor girls went missing before Zainab, out of which 10 were brutally raped and murdered.
Thousands have attended the funeral of Zainab in Kasur where she was laid to rest. The funeral prayers were offered by renowned scholar and Pakistan Awami Tehreek's Tahir-ul-Qadri, who also demanded that justice be delivered to the deceased.
Zainab's case has attracted the attention of the country's civilian and military leadership.
The incident shook the entire country with Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa assuring all possible help to Zainab's family. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also visited victim's mother and father promised not to rest until the culprits are nabbed. Sharif has announced Rs 1 crore prize money for whoever identifies the culprit.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar also took Suo moto notice of the case and ordered the Punjab IG to submit a report to the court within 24 hours.
Kasur, over 400 km from Islamabad, made international headlines in 2015 when a gang of paedophiles was running a child sex racket that was busted.
The paedophile gang allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted at least 280 children in the area, blackmailed the families of the victims since 2009, and even sold video clips and images of the assault.