Law enforcement agencies have failed to make any headway in their search for clues leading to the arrest of the rapist(s) and killer(s) of 6-year-old Zainab, who went missing on January 4 and later her body was recovered on Jan 9 from a heap of trash in Kasur.
According to sources within the police, the radius of the investigation may be further increased as no substantial breakthrough has been made in the case so far.
Earlier this week, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Arif Nawaz had assured that police would soon apprehend the culprit as all agencies were working towards the goal, but had admitted that "there has been no major breakthrough so far".
Zainab's family, however, has appeared dissatisfied with the investigation so far since there had been no headway despite the passage of two weeks since their daughter was abducted.
NA wants ‘exemplary’ punishment for culprits
On Wednesday, lawmakers on both sides of the NA aisle had condemned the rape and murder of Zainab and called for “exemplary” capital punishment for those involved in the incident.
Taking part in a debate on the motion “to discuss the situation arising out of rape and brutal murder of seven-year-old girl Zainab in Kasur” that was moved last week by Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada, lawmakers deplored that it had been over a week since the horrific incident had taken place, but the police and intelligence agencies were yet to trace the culprits.
While opposition members pointed fingers at the Punjab government for not being able to prevent child abuse in the province or making concerted efforts to arrest the culprits behind them, some treasury members suggested that the issue should not be politicised because such incidents occurred all over the country.
Police believe culprit is 'fearless and confident'
Police believe the suspect has assaulted nine girls, ages five to 10 years, and killed seven of them.
Security for the two girls, who survived similar attacks, has been enhanced. In the last one year, 13 minors have been killed after being abused in Kasur city.
District Police Officer Zahid Ali Marwat had earlier said that sexual abuse and killing of minors occur in other districts of Punjab as well, however, such incidents pose a special challenge to police in Kasur.
He mentioned that out of the 20 video footages his office had examined only one — where the minor girl was seen walking with the suspect — was real.
Some police officials said in all cases, the suspected killer(s) had left the belongings of the deceased children with their bodies in a careful manner, which suggested they did not want to eliminate the evidence.
The place where Zainab's body was found is surrounded by buildings on the busiest road of Kasur – Shahbaz Khan Road.
An investigator had also pointed out that the footage revealed that the culprit was fearless and walked with confidence.
Another policeman added that the JIT had started collecting data on the people expelled from police or security agencies as the suspect in the footage seemed a person of strong nerves.
The police also received chemical examination reports from the Punjab Scientific Forensic Agency which confirmed the girl was assaulted.
According to the DNA report, the age of the suspected killer is between 22 and 40 years.
Medical Officer Dr Quratul Ain, who conducted the autopsy, had said she had conducted autopsies of four other children and that the pattern of killing in all cases was same.
Also, a man, seen in a video footage roaming in the girl’s street, had turned himself in to the police and pleaded his innocence. He was released after necessary interrogation.
Additional reporting by Afzal Ansari