An hours-long protest on Karachi’s National Highway against the brutal rape and murder of a six-year-old girl, whose body was found in Bin Qasim Town on Wednesday, was called off the same day after a senior police official assured the protesters of further arrests.
Two suspects are in police custody so far.
The minor had gone missing three days ago while stepping outside her home in Bin Qasim Town’s Data Nagar neighbourhood and her body was recovered from the drain of the Steel Town area on Wednesday, Bin Qasim Station House Officer (SHO) Fahadul Hasan told Dawn.com.
He further said her relatives had lodged a first information report (FIR) on Feb 28 and two suspects — neighbours of the victim — have been taken into custody for interrogation.
Later in the day, Malir Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Hassan Sardar confirmed the arrests in a media talk. He said that the suspect, identified as Intizar Hussain, was a painter by profession and originally hailed from Layyah.
“He lived in the same neighbourhood as the victim,” the police official said.
He revealed that another suspect Allah Raka helped Hussain throw the girl’s body into the drain.
“Hussain kidnapped the girl by luring her with toys and then raped her. He strangled her to death and later threw the body in the drain,” Sardar said, adding that the police were trying to obtain the suspect’s past criminal record.
Meanwhile, the victim’s father demanded that the culprits should be brought to justice and awarded strict punishment.
The girl’s body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre to fulfil legal formalities. Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said: “The body of a minor girl was found with hands and feet tied around 48 hours old.”
“Physical findings are conclusive for violent vaginal and anal intercourse with the possibility of gang rape,” she added.
Saying the cause of death was reserved till reports arrived, the surgeon said, “All relevant samples, including viscera and swabs from the body, have been collected.”
FIR on kidnapping
Earlier, Malir Senior Superintendent of Police Investigation (SSP) Kamran Khan said the Bin Qasim Town police had registered an FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, under sections 34 and 363 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the victim’s father.
According to the contents of the FIR, the complainant said he is a taxi driver by profession who lives in Bin Qasim Town’s Data Nagar for the last eight-nine years along with his family.
He said he had left his home in his taxi at around 7am on Feb 27 when his wife informed him on the phone that their daughter had left to purchase snacks from a nearby shop at around 8am.
However, upon her not returning home after a considerable time, his wife inquired from the local residents and the shopkeeper as well but could not find her and informed him, the complainant said.
The FIR further said when the complainant reached home and talked to the shopkeeper, he was told the girl had bought snacks and left. The father said in the FIR that he suspected that someone had kidnapped his daughter for some unknown reason.
Protesters demand suspects’ arrest
Late Wednesday night, relatives and workers of political parties — including the PTI — protested against the brutal killing of the girl, blocking the National Highway near Steel Town Morr.
Demanding the immediate arrest of the suspects, the protesters set old tyres on fire, resulting in the highway being blocked for around four hours, according to witnesses.
Malir SSP Hassan Sardar held talks with the protesters at the location and regretted the minor girl’s cruel murder.
PTI Karachi leader Dr Masroor Siyal, who led the protest, told the media they ended the protest over assurances given by the Malir SSP that the culprits would be arrested within 24 hours.
SSP Sardar also told the media that some suspects have already been detained and more arrests would be made.
“We are also human beings and I am a father of daughters. I feel sorry about the tragic murder of the minor girl and such beasts (culprits) will be taken to task,” said the senior officer.
In a statement, Karachi Traffic Police spokesperson had said that the National Highway opposite the Steel Town police station was blocked due to a protest at 11:53pm on Wednesday night. Resultantly, traffic going towards Thatta and coming to Karachi was stopped. The protest ended at 1:17am on Thursday morning.
Politicians condemn murder
PTI Karachi President Aftab Siddiqi said the murder of the minor girl after rape in the Steel Town area was regrettable. He said when the girl went missing, the police should have taken swift action but were “negligent”.
Demanding the immediate arrest of the killers, he said: “Because of the inaction of the government, innocent girls are being killed.”
He said he stood with the victim’s family and demanded the government provide justice to them.
Separately, Special Assistant to Chief Minister for Malir affairs and PPP Malir President Salman Abdullah Murad condemned the murder and urged the Malir SSPs of the Operation and Investigation Wings to immediately arrest the suspects.
“We regret the brutal murder of the minor girl and share the sorrows of the family,” Murad said. He asserted that the Sindh government would provide active support to the victim’s family.