The medico-legal report of a four-year-old girl whose body was found on Sunday evening in Mardan suggests she might have been raped before being murdered, Inspector General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Salahuddin Mehsood said on Wednesday.
The medico-legal report says the girl died by strangulation and also points to sexual violence against the victim, Mehsood said.
However, he stressed that the police was still awaiting a forensic report of the crime as medico-legal report has left certain things unclear.
While addressing a press conference in Peshawar, the provincial police chief said the body of the girl had been found from sugarcane fields a day after she went missing. An eight-member committee under the regional police officer, Mardan, which also included the superintendent police (investigation), had been constituted on January 14.
He also said that another informal committee comprising family members of the victim, members of the provincial Dispute Resolution Council and local political leaders has been formed to overlook the police investigation.
Mehsood said that all evidence for the case, including DNA samples, has been collected and expressed hope that the culprits will be caught soon since the case was the first priority of the provincial police.
The police had earlier been accused by members of the family and the district nazim of trying to hush up the matter and hide the sexual assault.
The Awami National Party (ANP) is set to hold a protest against the incident today, and the police had also promised the family that the forensic report would arrive by today.
Cases of sexual assault against minors have come under greater scrutiny in the country following the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur, whose body was found from a dump in the city last week.
The news shocked the entire country with #JusticeforZainab becoming the rallying cry while violent protests broke out in Kasur.
The prime suspect in the case, however, remains at large despite the provincial administration and police forming multiple committees and multiple agencies working on the case.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Kasur today and said that important headway had been made in the case and the culprits would be caught soon. He condemned the politicisation of Zainab's case saying the girl killed in Mardan was also the nation's daughter and asked whether those protesting on Mall Road today would also express the same solidarity with her as they expressed with Zainab.