“Justice for Zainab” Brings Attention to Sexual Assault


On Jan. 5 in Kasur, Pakistan, 7 year-old Zainab Amin went missing while going to a religious tuition center near her home. Four days later, her body was found in a heap of trash, brutally tortured, raped, and murdered. Protests lined the streets of Kasur, questioning why it took so long to discover the body and bring the culprit to justice. Those protests turned increasingly violent, as police forces clashed with protesters. As a result of the inaction, an online campaign “Justice for Zainab” was launched in order to demand justice and police action for the young girl’s death. Now, after three weeks, the culprit has finally been caught, but protesters demand that more action should occur to prevent cases like this again, especially since Kasur is already a city infamous for gang rape and murder.

In 2015, Kasur was the focus of a political child sexual abuse scandal. A gang of high status men forced children into making hundreds of sex videos between 2009 to 2014, and later used the footage to blackmail their impoverished families. They were all finally arrested in 2015, but the scars still last in the community. During the investigation, families accuse the police of turning a blind eye when families would report the paedophile ring.

The arrest of the members in the large scale ring haven’t prevented anything either, with over 700 cases of child abuse since 2015. Beside Zainab, 11 other young girls have been raped and murdered in the same manner, in the same year, and in the same two kilometer area, but none of those cases have been solved. The weak investigation system, with loopholes that allow culprits to be acquitted, angers parents, who claim that officials haven’t done enough to investigate large-scale sexual abuse. Additionally,, the lack of education on medical examinations prevent quick action on cases, allowing the culprit to get away and do more harm. Out of the 12 unsolved cases, 5 of them have the same DNA match, meaning that, yet again, Kasur is plagued by a gang of assaulters.

The social stigma that comes with sexual assault in the area also prevents parents from reporting it to the police. Even if families are brave enough to admit the assault to the police, the long and expensive judicial system pushes them away from reporting it. Many international investigators who have come to Kasur say that the numbers of assaults would be much higher if they could account for all of the pending and the unreported cases. Also, the culture in the area, which allows children to trust strangers and distant friends, allows increased predators, and without parents being educated about child protection, there is a higher risk of abduction.

“The present incident is an example of the ineptitude of the authorities which have failed to address the issue in an appropriate manner to curb its future recurrence,” Pakistan’s National Commission on Human Rights said.

It’s not only local families who are protesting. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner, who is a Pakistani resident, tweeted out this message.


Heartbroken to hear about Zainab – a 7 year old child abused and brutally killed in Kasur, Pakistan. This has to stop. Gov and the concerned authorities must take action. #JusticeForZainab

— Malala (@Malala) January 10, 2018


The hashtag #JusticeForZainab also trended worldwide, bringing attention and action to a case that usually wouldn’t escape the jaws of the rural town. Authorities are calling for action and decreased political apathy. Town officials are planning to implement programs that break the stigma around sexual assault that would be possibly held in schools. International and national officials are finally investigating the significant amount of cases in Kasur to make sure that all of the culprits are brought to justice, even if the local force won’t involve itself. While Zainab was an unfortunate victim of assault, the protests and movements that came from her early death can hopefully make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again.