Police in central Pakistan on Wednesday arrested eight suspects after an eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped and burnt alive, sparking widespread protests both on the streets and social media.
According to police, the girl had left her house on Sunday afternoon to buy treats from a nearby shop.
Hours later she was found with burn wounds at a deserted house and was moved to a hospital, where she later died. Police officials said they suspect sexual assault before she was set on fire, but a forensic report is still pending. Students from schools, colleges were joined by the civil society activists, traders and lawyers at protests against the crime in the city of Chichawatni in the central province of Punjab. A hashtag seeking justice for the girl has been trending on Twitter in Pakistan. “We have arrested over a dozen suspects for investigations,’’ police investigator Muhammad Amin told newsmen. “We are waiting for the results of forensic and chemical tests to confirm sexual assault,” Muhammad Abubakar, an administration official at the Chichawati hospital, said. He said that the girl’s body was over 70 per cent burned. In January, a rape and murder of seven-year-old girl in the city of Kasur in Punjab sparked nationwide protests. After weeks of investigation, the main suspect was arrested and sentenced to death on four counts following his confession. According to the non-profit organisation Sahil, which works for children’s rights, no less than 11 children are assaulted in Pakistan every day.