The torched body of a minor girl was recovered on Sunday from Karachi's Old Sabzi Mandi area, two days after she was reported to have gone missing, police said.
PIB police station Station House Officer Shakir Husain said that the five-year-old victim, Marwah, had been kidnapped and raped before being murdered and torched. She was reported missing from the Old Sabzi Mandi area two days before her body was found in a trash heap on an empty plot in the same area in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The body was shifted to Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre where a post-mortem examination was held. According to the autopsy report, the victim had been sexually assaulted and had died from head injuries.
One person has been taken into custody for interrogation, the SHO said.
The kidnapping, rape and murder of the child angered residents of the area, who staged a protest on the Main University Road after her burial in the morning. Some men, carrying sticks, were seen asking commuters to take alternative routes and the main road from Hasan Square to New Town was closed for traffic.
PTI lawmaker Jamaluddin Siddiqi, who attended the protest as well, told Dawn that SSP Investigation (East) Farrukh Ali had met with the protesters and told them that a man had been arrested and his DNA samples were sent to a lab in the University of Karachi to ascertain his involvement in the crime. Siddiqi said that he had requested the demonstrators to clear the road for traffic but they continued to protest against the brutal incident.
Demonstrators urged Pakistanis to demand justice for the victim, recalling that in 2018 the nation had come together for six-year-old Zainab Ansari who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in Kasur. Zainab's rapist and murderer was hanged in October 2018.
Zainab's gory murder had sparked outrage in the country and raised questions over the security of children and responsibilities on the part of the authorities concerned to prevent increasing incidents of child abuse in Pakistan.
The recent incident also caused a furore on social media. 'Justice for Marwah' was the top trend on Twitter on Sunday as users demanded justice for the victim.
Earlier this year, the Senate approved the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill, 2019, paving the way for the child protection legislation to become a law meant to ensure the protection of minors. A helpline has been set up to report missing children and that Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Agency (ZARRA) has been established to issue an alert for a missing child.
According to the law, ZARRA will coordinate with all relevant federal and provincial authorities and law enforcement agencies, and maintain an online database of all children reported missing or abducted with their current status.