Chaos has ensued in Pakistan after 7-year-old Zainab was found in a dumpster, strangled and raped, a few days after being lost while going to her Quran class. Zainab’s parents had left her in the care of their relatives as they completed their Holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. They had expected to come back to their sweet daughter with gifts and stories to tell but came back to her funeral instead. Anguished, her parents have said that the police have done nothing as they don’t care about “common citizens” and her mother stated that “she just wants justice”.
Zainab’s horrific and sudden death has provoked the outcry of millions. The hashtag #JusticeforZainab is being used in social media outlets to show support to the innocent girl who became a victim of a sick man. There are currently CCTV images of the culprit being shown around in order to catch him and there have been numerous riots filled with angry citizens who are searching for a way to bring peace to Zainab’s family by pressuring the government to speed up the search and legal process of the rapist.
Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson of the Pakistani Army “condemns the cold-blooded murder of Zainab” and has offered the police to help catch the culprit. Other notable figures such as Imran Khan, an ex-international cricketer turned politician and Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai are urging for the government to take serious action against the culprit. Zainab’s case is the 13th sexual assault case related to a minor in the Kasur area in a year provoking authorities to wonder whether the region is being monitored properly by the police.
Unfortunately, rape has become an extreme problem in the world and Pakistan is no exception, with a source citing in 2015 that a woman is raped every 2 hours. Another study shows that 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported in Pakistan every day. Factors such a weak investigation system that contains loopholes, lengthy judicial system and uneducated citizens who cherry pick words from the Quran and other holy books to justify their horrendous actions are the reason for the high number of rape cases.
Pakistan has recently passed a law toughening its punishments for rapists and those who commit honor killings. With this new law, culprits are punished for a mandatory of 25 years and the punishment is harsher for those who have raped minors or those who are mentally or physically disabled. Along with harsher laws, Pakistan needs a swift uncorrupted punishment system that will make sure that next time, no man or woman ever thinks about hurting anyone again, minor or adult. The Pakistani government needs to give justice to Zainab and use her rapist and murderer to show every sick person who sexually abuses others that their actions will not be tolerated.