Police in Pakistan are hunting a man who raped and murdered an eight-year-old girl and then dumped her body in rubbish.
She was last seen on her way to a Koran recital and her body was found about 2km from her home, with CCTV images showing the suspect leading away Zainab Ansari before she was strangled to death.
The murder has shocked Pakistanis with local celebrities, including former cricket star Imran Khan, joining in calls for the police to act more quickly to arrest the suspect.
According to local media reports, the girl was kidnapped while her parents where in Mecca performing a religious pilgrimage, and her body discovered by passers-by, in the town of Road Kot, in Pubjab province.
Speaking at Islamabad airport as he arrived back in the country, her father Ameen Ansari said, as his wife sobbed: ‘We will not bury Zainab until the killer is caught.
‘He alleged that the police did not cooperate in finding his daughter ‘If the police would have acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught.’
Her mother added: ‘I have nothing to say, I just want justice for my daughter.’
A mob angered over murder attacked a police station and a nearby government building in eastern Punjab province on Wednesday, triggering clashes that left at least two people dead and several injured, the police said.
The violence erupted in the city of Kasur hours before the funeral of Zainab and shopkeepers in the city closed their premises in support.
Much of the anger was directed Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Inspector General of Police who they claimed had failed to act on dozens of cases of children being raped and murdered in the Kasur district of the province.
A large number of women joined in similar protest in Punjab and elsewhere in Pakistan, it was reported.
Pakistanis expressed their shock on social media using the hashtag ‘justiceforZainab’.
Among those voicing anger was the cricket star and politician Imran Khan who tweeted: ‘The condemnable & horrific rape & murder of little Zainab exposes once again how vulnerable our children are in our society.
‘This is not the first time such horrific acts have happened. We have to act swiftly to punish the guilty & ensure that our children are better protected.’
Ihtisham ul Haq, summed up many people’s exasperation at a lack of progress in finding the killer.
‘The picture of Zainab’s rapist & killer is clearly captured. Why he is still roaming freely? Can our agencies and authorities capture him?’, he tweeted.
‘Can we please catch this animal and punish him publicly? Can we do something to protect our children?’
Firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri who took part in the girl’s funeral service demanded the local government be replaced, saying it has ‘no right to remain in power after the killing of Zainab Ansari’.
In a speech to thousands of mourners, he blamed the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, for failing to ‘protect lives and honour of innocent girls’ in the province.
He issued an ultimatum to Mr Sharif and Mr Sanaullah to step down by January 17 to avoid street protests.
The cleric is a staunch political rival of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party and he has led violent rallies in the capital, Islamabad, since 2014 after eight of his supporters were killed in anti-government rallies in Lahore, Punjab’s provincial capital.