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‘Prime suspect’ arrested after girl raped and murdered

Pakistani authorities have arrested a man in connection with the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl, whose death sparked nationwide protests.

The body of Zainab Ansari was found in a rubbish heap more than a mile from her home in Kasur, near the eastern city of Lahore, in Punjab province, on 11 January.

She was discovered a week after she disappeared on her way to a Koranic study class.

Widespread anger led to the sacking of a police chief amid allegations of government inaction.

Police have said the man in custody is being treated as the prime suspect, after dozens of people were questioned.

“Evidence we’re getting leads us to believe that he is the man,” said one officer, who wished to remain anonymous.


The girl is seen on CCTV walking away with the man

Video:
Murdered Pakistan girl seen on CCTV

Locals have said the brutal killing was the 12th such incident in the last year, fuelling fears of a serial rapist killer being on the loose.

More than 1,000 protesters lined the streets of Kasur, Lahore and Karachi last week after Zainab’s father Anees accused the police of being slow to respond.

Zainab’s uncle, Ghulam Rasool, said last week: “Police are not co-operating with us. We want justice.

“We want the culprit to be brought in front of us. We don’t want an innocent to be presented as the culprit and killed just to wash this case.”

Violent clashes have happened in Kansur, Lahore and Karachi
Image:
Violent clashes took place in Kansur, Lahore and Karachi

Two people were killed and three more were injured during the protests in Kasur, and the city’s police chief was sacked.

Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab province, visited the town on Wednesday and held a meeting with investigating officials.

He said a breakthrough in the case was expected within “days or hours”.

He has also offered a reward of 10 million Pakistani rupees (£65,500) to anyone who provides information about the killer.

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