A Pakistani TV anchor went on air with her daughter to protest the brutal rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the country.
Zainab Ansari from Kasur district of Punjab province was abducted last week from near her house. A police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a trash heap on January 9.
Kiran Naz, a newscaster with Saama TV, went on air with her young daughter on the channel's 7 pm news bulletin on Wednesday.
"Today I am not Kiran Naz. I am a mother," she said, at the start of the show. Kiran had her daughter seated on her lap.
Speaking out against the brutal crime that Zainab was subjected to, she said, "It is rightly said, the smallest coffins are the heaviest. And a similar coffin today lies on the streets of Kasur and the entire country is burdened by its weight."
Zainab's parents were away on a pilgrimage when the incident took place. Kiran said that while the little girl's parents were away, praying for the family and thinking of her, a monster took her away from them forever.
"This is not just the murder of a small girl. It is the murder of humanity," she said.
Not often that you see a TV news anchor bring her own child to her news cast - @SAMAATV 's Kiran Naz did precisely that to make a point about how she felt as a mother in Pakistan #JusticeForZainab #Justice4Zainab pic.twitter.com/6XMXQJmfzVâ€” omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) January 10, 2018
This is so powerful. So much respect for Kiran Naz, who brought her daughter to her news show in protest to the brutal murder and rape of 8 year old Zainab Ansari. #JusticeForZainab https://t.co/t57NIrwyBdâ€” Nabela (@Nabela) January 11, 2018
Powerful and impassioned opening comments by Pakistani anchor Kiran Naz who got her daughter on the show to make a point about little Zainabâ€™s rape and murder. https://t.co/At91KVaC8Eâ€” Harneet Singh (@Harneetsin) January 10, 2018
Kiran's protest struck a chord with many from across the globe and she later explained why she decided to bring her own daughter to the news show.
"Since I got to know about Zainab, I could not turn towards my daughter and sleep. Because I could see Zainab when I looked at her," she said.
A heinous crime
Zainab, who was being looked after by a relative as her parents were away on a pilgrimage, was last known to have attended a tuition centre near her house in the Road Kot area on January 4. She was allegedly abducted after this. CCTV footage showing her with a stranger near Peerowala Road has since gone viral.
On Tuesday, a police constable deputed to trace the girl recovered her body from a trash heap. Police said the girl seemed to have been killed four or five days ago.
What's even more shocking is that at least 11 similar cases are reported to have taken place within a two kilometre radius in the city in the last year.
"The rapist or the murderer is a serial killer. In the previous incidents, the forensic evidence also determines it and the modus operandi of carrying out such acts also determines it," spokesperson of Punjab province - where Kasur is located - Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan said.
He said the authorities now have a suspect after interrogating 96 people, and have formed a special team to nab the perpetrator as soon as possible.
Preliminary examination of the minor's body -- that was recovered from a garbage dump on Tuesday - had revealed that she'd been raped before she was killed. This led to violent protests in Kasur during which two people died and several acts of vandalism took place.
Kasur made international headlines in 2015 when a gang of paedophiles running a child sex ring was busted, Dawn reported.
The 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.
In March 2016, Pakistan passed a law against sexual abuse of minors and child pornography, making the crimes punishable by up to seven years in prison.
(With IANS inputs)