ISLAMABAD, Feb 18: The Supreme Court (SC) has initiated suo motu proceedings in the murder of an 11-year-old girl whose body was found in Islamabad on Sunday.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has asked Inspector General of Islamabad Bani Amin to brief them on preliminary investigations on Tuesday.
An item in the news media drew the court’s attention to the case.
The piece alleged that the girl, whose body was found in a ditch in I-9/1, had been gang-raped and then strangled to death before her assailants set her body on fire.
According to police reports, the girl, a resident of Bhara Kahu, had gone missing on February 13.
On February 16, her father filed an FIR with the Bhara Kahu police station, in which he accused Qaiser Ali and his wife, Mehek Qaiser, of kidnapping.
When police discovered the girl’s body on February 17, a case was registered against Qaiser Ali and his wife in the Industrial Area police station under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The crime has sparked protests across the area, including calls for death penalty for those responsible for the girl’s death.
The autopsy conducted on the 11-year-old girl found dead on Saturday reported that because of the body’s severe burns, it would be difficult to determine complete facts.
The autopsy revealed, however, that the girl was subjected to severe torture before she died, on Thursday. Two men, neighbours of the girl, have been arrested.
The girl’s body was brought to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) completely burned from the neck down, but with evident signs of torture.
Her hands and legs were cut off, though it is not certain if it was deliberate torture or a result of the burning.
The body’s condition has made it difficult to determine exactly how the girl died; possible causes include strangulation and a stab wound.
The girl’s internal organs - including the brain, spleen, lungs, heart, kidney and liver - have been preserved for chemical examination.
Doctors also took vaginal swabs, as the possibility of rape has not yet been ruled out.
Police investigators believe that the girl’s abductors raped her before killing her and burning her body and dumping it in a ditch behind Federal Primary School No 2 in I-9/1.
The investigation of the case has transferred from the Industrial Area police station to Bhara Kahu, where a case was registered on February 15 under PPC 364-A, which refers to kidnapping or abducting a person under 14 years of age.
Two people have been arrested in the case, a 60-year-old man and his 27-year-old son, both of whom were neighbours of the victim and named in a complaint lodged by her father.
They appeared in court on Monday and were given to investigators on three days’ physical remand.
According to the victim’s father, she disappeared on February 13.
The family had moved to Bhara Kahu a few months before, and the girl and her younger brother had begun receiving tuition from a neighbour.
That morning, the tutor sent the boy to purchase groceries at a market about 20 minutes walk away, and when he returned, he was told that his sister had already gone home.
That evening, when the girl did not return, the father lodged a complaint with the police.
He accused the neighbours of abducting his daughter.
An employee at a university canteen, he told Dawn that after his daughter’s disappearance, other people in the area had started telling him that the neighbours had a “bad reputation”.