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Here's Why People Are Tweeting A Photograph Of A Little Girl From Pakistan

The body of 7-year-old Zainab was found after she went missing six days ago in Kusa, Pakistan.

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The murder of a 7-year-old girl in Pakistan has provoked riots and two deaths as authorities grapple with widespread public anger after her body was found discarded on a trash heap.

Zainab Asari, from Kasur in Punjab province, disappeared on Jan. 4.

She had been staying with her aunt, while her parents were in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, when she disappeared after going to a Koran recital. In the days afterwards her family reportedly received a video of her walking with an unknown man, near Peerowala Road. The video was later shared online.

On Jan. 9, a child's body was discovered by police tossed in the garbage. Pictures of the body were soon rapidly shared on social media.

An autopsy found the child had been raped and strangled before she was killed, roughly four days before her body was found, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

As news of the child's death spread, people protested.

Riots have erupted in Kasur — and at least two people have died in clashes with police. Absolute break down in law and order.

And many used the #JusticeForZainab, calling on authorities to protect children and catch those responsible.

Small coffins are the heaviest.. I feel so ashamed and sad reading this disturbing news from the other side of the… https://t.co/fiZgiIOqEa

Pity the nation that can't protect its children. Down with the authorities that downplay the incidents of child abuse. #JusticeForZainab

Zainab's case has blown up because many in the province feel that authorities continue to ignore attacks on children, despite a national scandal in 2015 when a child abuse ring was exposed in the area.

Because we didn’t follow up on the mass rape case at Kasur, today we ask #JusticeForZainab

Between 2006 and 2014 hundreds of children, mostly boys, were filmed being raped. An organized crime ring sold the child abuse images or used them to blackmail the families, a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan found, after the Nation exposed the situation in 2015. The subsequent outrage prompted a huge scandal as allegations flew that members of the local political elite had covered up the crimes for more than a decade.

Initially, an inquiry by Punjab politicians labelled the reports "fake", and said there was no evidence to support the claims of child abuse. Instead, officials argued the reports were the result of a land dispute gone sour.

Police eventually arrested 37 men in connection with the attacks, but only two men were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Zainab is the 11th child to be murdered in the past 12 months in the region, Dawn reported, a fact that many demonstrators highlighted as they took to the streets.

Her father Ameen Asari, speaking to reporters after he arrived back from Saudi Arabia, condemned what he said was inaction by the authorities.Asari said although his family had alerted the police – a missing person's report was filed Jan. 6 – they had done nothing to find his daughter. “In Pakistan, security is only for leaders and we are just common insects,” he told reporters.
Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

Her father Ameen Asari, speaking to reporters after he arrived back from Saudi Arabia, condemned what he said was inaction by the authorities.

Asari said although his family had alerted the police – a missing person's report was filed Jan. 6 – they had done nothing to find his daughter.

“In Pakistan, security is only for leaders and we are just common insects,” he told reporters.

Pakistani politicians, like Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor of the country's armed forces, have promised to take action.

Deeply pained about murder of a 8-year old girl in a child molestation case. Those societies that cannot protect it… https://t.co/6jMwFjiZh0

Just presided over a meeting of police & administration officials. Made it absolutely clear to them that lip servic… https://t.co/OkrVGKSjds

COAS condemns cold blooded murder of innocent Zainab. Responding to appeal by the aggrieved parents to COAS, direct… https://t.co/OH01MSpJjJ

But many leaders – like Imran Khan, chairman of opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – have criticized the current leadership in the face of yet another attack.

As the hashtag gathered steam, advocates like Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai also tweeted about Zainab.

Heartbroken to hear about Zainab - a 7 year old child abused and brutally killed in Kasur, Pakistan. This has to st… https://t.co/1gxIsGpUl8

A Pakistani newsreader, Kiran Naz, brought her child onto her broadcast to show how the issue was brought home to her.

Not often that you see a TV news anchor bring her own child to her news cast - @SAMAATV 's Kiran Naz did precisely… https://t.co/WNQGVRv8S0

In the broadcast, with her child on her knee, Naz explained her decision: "Today I'm not your host Kiran Naz. I'm a mother and that is why I'm sitting here with my daughter," she said.

"In this country, many attacks take place. Dozens of people dying is not out of the ordinary. Who kills them? Why do they kill them? There are no answers to these questions The smaller the coffin, the heavier it feels."

She continued: "This is not just injustice against a girl or just another murder. This is the murder of the entire nation."

In the past two days, some demonstrations have grown violent, with two people killed after clashing with police officers.

Local authorities then released a statement, confirming that four police officers and two civil defence officials who opened fire on protesters had been arrested. As more information about the man alleged to have abducted, raped, and killed Zainab has emerged, many have called for him to be publicly executed. The local government has promised to award roughly US $10,000 to anyone who identifies the culprit. In a meeting chaired Thursday afternoon, it also promised to install more CCTVs in Kasur to prevent a similar situations from arising.
Arif Ali / AFP / Getty Images

Local authorities then released a statement, confirming that four police officers and two civil defence officials who opened fire on protesters had been arrested.

As more information about the man alleged to have abducted, raped, and killed Zainab has emerged, many have called for him to be publicly executed.

The local government has promised to award roughly US $10,000 to anyone who identifies the culprit.

In a meeting chaired Thursday afternoon, it also promised to install more CCTVs in Kasur to prevent a similar situations from arising.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at Rose.Buchanan@BuzzFeed.com.

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