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January 12, 2018

Protests continue over Kasur tragedy

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January 12, 2018

KASUR: The protest against the killing of Zainab continued on the second day (Thursday) as protesters also attacked the offices of the ruling party’s lawmakers.

The protesters blocked roads in different parts of the city. Later, they gathered at the Steel Bagh Chowk where various leaders, including JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq, addressed the gathering and declared Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif responsible for the issue.

He criticised Shahbaz for visiting Kasur late Wednesday night and suggested he should come to Kasur in daylight to face the people. He alleged that the chief minister had made the Punjab a police state.

Meanwhile, the protesters attacked the offices of PML-N MPA Naeem Safdar Ansari and MNA Sheikh Waseem Akhtar. Hundreds of protesters ransacked the MPA’s office and set on fire two vehicles parked inside the premises. There was no police officials to control the situation. Later, the mob torched the office of Sheikh Waseem Akhtar.

The protesters also ransacked the DHQ Hospital where doctors and paramedical staff took refuge in their rooms. The hospital was vacated within one hour.Medical Superintendent Dr Nazeer said the protesters attacked government officials, which was totally unjustified, adding that doctors and paramedical staff were to serve the people of Kasur and the protesters should respect the noble profession.

On the other hand, sources said police had caught the main accused but his identity would only be disclosed after a DNA test.According to police sources, five policemen were severely injured as the protesters pelted stones on them. A case was registered against more than 60 people and many of them have been arrested.

Due to the worsening situation, the district administration on Thursday evening called in around 200 Rangers personnel. However, neither the police nor the Rangers were visible on the streets till the filing of this report.

Meanwhile, the funeral prayers, led by Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, of the two persons killed by police firing on Wednesday were offered at the College Ground. Thousands of people including former foreign minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali and PPP leader Chaudhry Manzoor participated in the funeral prayers.

Speaking on the occasion, Rizvi criticised the PML-N government and said the Punjab Police had failed to control crimes in the province. On the other hand, the B-Division police have registered a case against 16 policemen for their alleged involvement in the killing two persons outside the DC office.

Meanwhile, the chief minister, chairing a meeting, announced a Rs10 million reward for those helping in identifying the culprit involved in Zainab’s killing and Rs3 million each as compensation for the families of the two protesters killed in police firing.

He ordered that the charge-sheet for the case should be presented in court within 24 hours and sought the details of the 11 similar pending cases. Earlier, Shahbaz also visited Zainab's residence earlier today. In his conversation with the deceased’s parents, he promised not to rest till the culprit responsible for the heinous crime is brought to book.

"We will not only ensure justice but its process would also be transparent to all. This atrocious incident is a matter of concern for all of us and I am duty-bound to ensure that justice is provided to the victim's family immediately,” he said. Ameen, the father of seven-year-old Zainab, demanded that the JIT head should be removed, saying they did not trust him.

He appealed to keep the people’s properties and belongings safe, saying that violence could "hijack our protest, which is peaceful", as they did not want the conspirators to join their ranks.

Ameen said the police did not take any interest after his daughter’s kidnapping. "Had they taken timely action, my daughter would have been here today. I want justice for my daughter," said Ameen.

The autopsy of the seven-year-old girl suggested that she had been raped and sodomized before being strangulated to death, while her hymen was ruptured. And in the Sindh Assembly, the treasury and opposition benches passed a joint resolution unanimously against the rape and murder of Zainab, demanding the arrest and bringing her perpetrators to book forthwith.

Similarly, the members of Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works condemned the Kasur incident and recommended to apprehend the culprits at the earliest. Meanwhile, the body of a 12-year-old missing child was recovered from fields in the precincts of Pattoki Police Station.

Sharaq – a sixth class student – was kidnapped from Chak 27 near Dholan village three days ago. His parents tried their best to recover him but could not succeed. They also got registered a complaint with the area police who asked them to seek relatives’ help as he might be with them. But on Thursday, his body recovered found the fields. Sources say the boy had been strangled after being sodomized.

-  Agencies/M Saleemur Rahman

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