Protests erupt after rape and murder of 8-year-old girl in Pakistan's Punjab

The murder has sparked outrage across Pakistan. Photograph:( Twitter )

PTI Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan Jan 10, 2018, 05.17 PM (IST)

An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered in Pakistan's Punjab province, triggering riots in which two people were killed in clashes with police. 

According to CCTV footage, the girl in Kasur district was abducted last week outside her home. Her body was found in a rubbish dump yesterday, police said. 

"Last night the girl's body was found from a heap of garbage in Saddar area of the city," Regional Police Officer (Kasur) Zulffiqar Hameed said, adding the body had been sent for autopsy. 

"Initial autopsy report suggests that the girl was strangulated after rape," Hameed said. 

The murder has sparked outrage across Pakistan. Well- known film and cricket stars demanded the killer be caught and the military offered support to the police. 

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The girl was staying with her relatives while her parents had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Hijaz, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. 

The police have taken four suspects into custody. 

"We are trying to identify the person who was seen taking the girl along in the footage," he said. 

Riots erupted in Kasur over police inaction after reports of the alleged rape and murder of the girl began circulating on social media. 

The protesters pelted stone at the police station, offices of the district police officer and district coordination officer in Kasur as the city observed a complete shutter down to protest against the brutal murder. 

Police resorted to 'direct' and aerial firing to disperse the protesters, media reports said. 

"Two persons who suffered serious bullet injuries during the protest succumbed to their injuries," a rescue official said. 

Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah took notice of the murder and sought report from the Punjab government. 

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said he would personally monitor this case and would not rest till culprits brought to justice. 

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has directed his younger brother Shahbaz to immediately arrest the culprits and bring them to justice. 

Ruling PML-N member Punjab Assembly Hina Butt submitted a privilege motion in the assembly, seeking justice for 11 other minor girls who were killed after rape in Kasur and adjoining areas during the last year. 

Opposition PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto has termed the brutal rape and murder of the girl as "shocking and a slap on the face of Sharifdom (Sharif brothers)". 

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, Maryam Nawaz and other politicians condemned the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. 

Test cricketers Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz tweeted that it was unbelievable that this brutal incident took place in Pakistan. "Our thoughts are with the parents of the girl," they said and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.