A Pakistani news anchor appeared on air with her daughter at Samaa TV, as a sign of protest against the rape and killing of seven-year-old girl, Zainab Ansari. With predators for people, the vulnerability of women in Pakistan urged Samaa TV anchor, Kiran Naz, to voice her maternal anger and fear.
Raped, murdered and abandoned in a dumpster, Zainab Ansari was dead before she could turn eight. She was the 12th child to have been murdered in the past year in Kasur, which is bordered in the north by Lahore. Cradled in her lap, Kiran Naz’s daughter was a reality brought to the doorstep.
The minor was abducted from the streets on January 4, after she left for her Quranic (Quran) lessons, never to return. Recovering her body from the dumpster in Kasur, the autopsy reported case of multiple rapes. Local media forums had quoted the Police Chief Hameed confirming the rape mentioned in autopsy before Zainab was strangled to death. The report also highlights the five days her body remained lifeless before it could be traced.
The Express Tribune quoted People’s Party Pakistan Chairman stating that Kasur has been in headlines for recurring sexual abuse cases of children in recent past. Zainab’s murder has been the murder of innocence, on the streets of Punjab, Pakistan. Across the border, the reality hasn’t altered much with Indian news channels broadcasting similar violence meted to women. Dawn reported Senate Chairman’s law amendment suggestions to expand the laws protecting crime against women to imbibe the cases of crime against children.
Riots in the streets
Protesters took to the street in Pakistan amidst the shutdown as reported by Dawn, in the city of Kasur. Riots held to demonstrate against police inaction ended with an open fire, killing two civilians and wounding many among the protesters in Kasur district. Zainab’s father Ameen Ansari claimed lack of cooperation from police when the missing report was filed. The sheer number of cases made it seem normal, a reality to survive with rather than live. The honour of the body that the society tries to protect rather than the individual has led us into the continuum of outrage without action.
Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has assured prompt enquiry and arrest, promising personal supervision from his side. He said, “Justice should be served to the family at all cost. The killers of the innocent girl won’t be able to escape.” Twitter has exploded with #JusticeForZainab hashtag. Forgotten to files and investigation, violence against women has reached an alarming height across the border.
With ‘unsafe’ entering a girl’s vocabulary rapidly, the darkness of streets has left the mothers and daughters with a shared vulnerability. An emotionally enraged Kiran Naz said,“It is true when they say that the smallest coffins are the heaviest and entire Pakistan is burdened by the weight of her coffin.” Making a statement by sharing the screen with her daughter, Kiran Naz has shown the way adults need to raise their voices for the innocent children, who are unable to do so themselves.